PREPARING TO TEACH
A study conducted by the Center for Teaching Excellence in Fall 1999, titled “Why Students Do and Do Not Attend Classes,” examined the relationship between course characteristics, student characteristics, and the rationale of students for either attending class or not attending class on a daily basis. The study sought to answer the following four questions:
How do characteristics of the students relate to their attendance behavior?
How do characteristics of the courses in which students are enrolled relate to their attendance behavior?
What reasons do students give for their day-to-day attendance decisions?
How do these reasons relate to the number of their absences?
Variables assessed included gender, class standing, age, grade point average, employment, residence (either on campus or off), cost of tuition and who was paying it, and the number of credit hours the student was enrolled in. A total of 333 students participated in this study, and they had an average of 3.17 absences per class, with a range from 0 to 12.25 absences. Some of the reasons provided by students for why they attended classes included personal values, obtaining course content, fulfilling grade requirements, factors related to the teacher, and peer influence. Reasons not to attend class included being sick, participating in other school or non-school-related activities, participating in leisure activities, avoiding teacher- or class-related experiences, and having no incentive to attend. Results indicate that students who had higher GPAs had fewer absences than those students who had lower grades. Other student characteristics, such as gender, age, class, residence, method of funding education, or number of credits enrolled in, did not correlate with number of absences.