Attendance: To Record or Not to Record. If That is the Question, Here is the Answer

Is attending lectures important for learning?

Is there a way to improve attendance without punitive policies?

Is recording attendance useful?

We, at Acadly, reviewed several studies to find answers to these questions and here is what they revealed.

Attending lectures improves performance

It’s rather resounding.

The very first research paper we looked into (307 citations) claims that attendance is not just a predictor of performance in college, it is a better predictor of performance than any other parameter, including entrance admission tests like SAT, high school GPA, study habits and study skills.

The results were corroborated across subjects too. EconomicsPolitical SciencePsychology, you name it.

In fact, we struggled to find reports to the contrary. If you know of any credible, high impact studies that claim something else, we’d love to take a look!

Recording attendance increases class attendance, even when attendance isn’t graded or mandatory

2008 study conducted by researchers at UMBC concluded that even if you don’t assign a grade to attendance, the mere act of taking attendance in class has a positive impact on the number of classes attended.

What’s more, they found this increase to be “not only statistically significant, but also dramatic”.

Students perform better when attendance is recorded, compared to when it isn’t

The same study also found that the group for which attendance was recorded — merely recorded, not even graded — performed significantly better in quizzes than the class where attendance was not recorded.

This included not only lecture-based material, but even material that only appeared in the textbooks and written course material.

The researchers postulate that this difference might be because of a number of possible reasons, including the idea that attending classes increases interest of students in the course material, thereby improving learning outside the classroom as well, and that attending lectures increases student understanding of the course material, giving them a stronger foundation to build on with self-study.

Benefits of recording attendance must be weighed against the costs of time and effort needed

In his 2011 paper titled The Role of Attendance in Lecture Classes, Jonathan Golding from the University of Kentucky reaffirms the findings of other studies, but warns the instructor against the time and effort costs of recording attendance.

He says, “This added cost may simply be too great, especially when one is dealing with large lecture classes.”

(This is where Acadly can help you. With our revolutionary attendance technology, all that a professor needs to do is walk into the classroom and tap a button on their phone. To know more, visit us at Lest we forget to mention it, Acadly is free for professors and students!)

Don’t forget to scroll down to check out the infographic summary of this piece!

With a lot of ❤ from Acadly, a smart classroom platform that helps you deliver engaging lectures and automate attendance with one-tap, instant roll calls.


About the Author
Author: Vaibhav VashishtWebsite:
Vaibhav is a co-founder at Acadly, a smart-class platform that helps professors engage students during lectures and record attendance at the tap of a button. Using Acadly can turn any classroom into a smart classroom, and it's free for professors and students. Over 1500 professors from over 40 countries are using Acadly to deliver interactive learning experiences to students on a daily basis.

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