Facts About Students Who Skip Class

Published: 13th May 2008
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Why students skip class? This question will lead to factors around students' attitudes about lecture presence; things they consider in deciding whether to attend; the process they use to make decisions; and recommendations for ensuring high attendance rates.

Attitudes about Attending Class. Students' attitudes toward lectures differ broadly. Most students try to attend classes, and usually do, however they miss them from time to time as the result of academic, extracurricular, or individual disagreements.

Decision Making. The most important factor in deciding whether to attend lectures is the lectures' value and clearness, followed by conflicting deadlines for other classes, the professor use of appropriate examples, and the professor ability to connect and amuse the students.

Factors to Decide. Whether the students look forward to to learn from the lecture - If students do not expect to learn from lectures, they are fewer likely to attend. The difficulty of the class and the subjects - Students may say that if they don't find the material demanding or if they are doing well in the class, they may decide to allocate time they would otherwise spend on the class - including attending lectures - to classes they find more challenging, especially at the busiest and most pressure-filled times of the semester. How the lectures connect to tests - Students felt that the lectures should be brought into line with what appears in the homework and on tests. How interested the students are in the subject matter: Students are more likely to attend classes they find attractive. This may emerge to be outside the professor power, but at least a class is good because it is simply an interesting topic. However, an otherwise uninteresting subject can become an interesting class if the lecturer is able to present the lesson material in a clear way. If a lecturer truly finds the material he/she teach is interesting, and he/she is able to connect with students through lectures, then he/she doesn't have trouble making the subject interesting for students.

The Decision-Making. Students typically use a very practical decision-making process that considers factors in combination, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of lecture attendance, estimating the impact on their workload, and trying to optimize their use of time.

Recommendations. A number of students offered observations on how professors can ensure high presence rates. Pop quizzes, taking attendance, and giving away test questions in class - compel students to attend. For some students, these methods implicated that a professor using them might attain high attendance rates, but would not be earning them. Other methods may make the students want to attend. A professor surely should lecture well and clearly, use related examples, entertain students, schedule classes in the afternoon, use a lot of demos, and keep in line the lectures with the tests. This advice is of only limited usefulness, since it does not suggest how these things can be done, however.

The most important thing maybe is creating a communicative process between lecturer and students, discussing openly about the methods and how the two parties can take their own part happily and fit together to reach the most. Then attending class will be a meaningful and interesting activity; both students and professor will be motivated eagerly and genuinely by the process.

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