Sunday, June 14, 2009

Attendance and Test Performance

In a post I made a few weeks ago I stated

And some of my students this summer must be from Wannabe Flagship, seeing the way several missed class (and a key review topic) the day before an exam.
A commenter asked whether there was any correlation between missing those two classes and doing poorly on the exam. I never got around to blogging it, but I looked at it at the time and the answer was "yes".

Quite a strong one, actually.

100% of the students who were absent on the particular day that I discussed Hairdressing (and were also absent when it was reviewed after homework was returned to them) got zero credit on a Hairdressing problem on the exam.

In contrast, fewer than 20% of the students who were present when I showed them how to Dress Hair got it completely wrong on the exam - and one of those was probably texting under his desk if past observations also applied that day.

Missing the review day was less critical if they were there the first day and also did the homework, but only 20% of the ones who got the Hairdressing problem completely correct were gone that day, while 60% of the ones who got partial credit had missed that day.

Perhaps more important is the subjective fact that several students who had been doing B/C work in the course missed those classes, missed the Hairdressing problem, and saw their grade drop significantly as a result.

I borrowed the "Hairdressing" term from profgrrrrl to stand in for one of the topics in my class.


FrauTech said...

I always attend EVERY class, and yet am usually performing around average. I take notes, I do all the homework. I see many of classmates not attend and get better grades than me. I guess that's why I wonder at the correlation. Maybe more important are the university's drop policies, and whether the topic is heavily lecture-based info or heavily book-based info. I wish my attendance actually meant an improvement in my test scores :)

Doctor Pion said...

This particular topic was not in the textbook, so the only place to get the details was by attending class.

PS - Nice "catch" of the Nissan Cube in your blog. I'll have to watch for it in the faculty parking lot when the liberal arts adjuncts show up to teach evening classes this fall.