Why you should come to class

I ran some statistics on my USU 1320 class to see what kind of correlation there was between class attendance and student success. Of course doing so required making certain assumptions:

a) I asked that students in class today only put their name down on a sheet I passed around if they were “regular attenders”. The vast majority of the 103 students in class today said that they had missed 3 or fewer classes. I assume that those who put their names down were being honest about this.

b) I assumed, for the sake of having some data to work with, that students who were not in class today were not “regular attenders”. This may not be true; there might be some regularly attending students who happened to have not come today. But I assumed that all 67 students who were absent today were not regular attenders.

So here is what I discovered: While this little statistical study did not control for various factors, it at least points to a very strong correlation between attending class regularly and better grades.

The overall class average on Exam 3 was a 20 (C+).
The average of those who were in class on Friday: 21.7
The average of those who were not in class on Friday: 17.2

That means that those in class who considered themselves “regular class attenders” average a B- on the exam. Those who were not in class (who, for the sake of argument, we are presuming to not be “regular class attenders”) averaged a D+. Quite a difference.

Of those 67 students who did not attend, there were 19 Fs and 15 Ds. So 28% of the non-attenders got Fs. 22% got Ds.

Of the 103 students who did attend, there were 2 Fs and 15 Ds. So 2% of attenders got Fs and 15% got Ds.

Again, quite a remarkable difference. The non-attenders accounted for 67% of the total Ds and Fs, even though they make up only 39% of the class.

The lesson: come to class. You actually learn something by doing so.

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
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