Does class attendance predict academic performance in first year psychology tutorials?
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Student absenteeism is common across universities. Learning through attending lectures and tutorials is still expected in our technological age, though there are major changes in how information in lectures and tutorials can be transmitted via the use of iLearn and related packages, by video streaming of classes and by online technology generally. Consequently, availability of these supplementary resources and, in general terms, the issue of physical absence from classes, raises the question of whether missing class impacts on student learning. Does it matter if students attend classes or not? The aim of the current study was to assess whether student attendance in tutorials in first year subjects in psychology was associated with academic performance, that is, was attendance linked with improved performance? We took data from tutor held records on attendance and on results for article review assignments and laboratory reports for a total of 383 students who completed introductory psychology courses in classes over the years 2012-2015. The hypothesis that class attendance and performance would be significantly related was supported in 13 of the 14 class relationships examined separately, and, in the class that was the exception the correlation was in the expected direction. These results suggest that attending class continues to have a positive impact on student learning in this technological age. The limitations of the current study are discussed as are implications regarding instructor resource applications and/or compulsory class attendance policies.
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