Attendance and Attrition – How connected are they?

attendance list.jpgPresent? Absent?  What does it matter?  These are young adults responsible for their own whereabouts and for showing up to class in order to get passing grades – This is not elementary school, RIGHT?

Attendance may no longer be a matter of right or wrong, but what it takes to achieve a higher student success rate and matriculation percentages. 

Looking at attendance policies could be a key component to your improved student success formula.

With the college graduation rate hovering at approximate 53%* of students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in the fall of 2009, and with students completing their degrees within six years rather than four,  a closer look at all contributing factors is becoming increasingly necessary.  Those in higher education administration know the downward effects and cost of retention or lack thereof:  loss of tuition dollars, state funding, etc.

Research shows that one of the key drivers of student retention is class attendance.   Students who attend classes are more likely to stay in school and graduate.  Many schools are looking at ways to boost student attendance thereby boosting retention and minimizing tuition dollar losses.

“Attendance is the best-known predictor of college grades, even more so than scores on standardized admissions tests, Marcus Crede, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University who studies the subject, told The Wall Street Journal.  That correlation holds true especially in fields such as science, engineering and math.

Not only does a student’s attendance help predict what his or her grades will be, but those grades predict graduation rates, Crede said.  And graduation rates are what really matters to institutions, parents and society as a whole.”

Best Practices in Boosting Attendance:

  1. Target underclassmen – instill good habits early
  2. Look for attendance trends – there may be a small concentrated group needing remediation
  3. Take attendance – tie attendance to final grade
  4. Use technology – ID cards, mobile apps, touch pads and more


Take a look at some case studies by downloading this free eBook:  Who’s In Class?  Increasing Attendance Boosts Retention. 

rentention, attendance and attrition



 *National Student Clearinghouse Research Center




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