Extraordinary as it may sound, attending lectures can help you learn more – at least when it comes to economics at the University of Wollongong.
The Impact of Lecture Attendance on Academic Performance in aÂ Large First Year Economics Course
Frank Neri & Yumiko Meloche
In this study we investigate whether class attendance is positively associated with academic performance for a large sample of first year students studying macroeconomics in a regional Australian university. Our findings, based on OLS and Logit models, confirm those of many others in that lecture attendance does contribute to academic performance. Other findings are that prior economics training in high school and a measure of ability or intelligence are both positively and significantly related to academic performance. Males do better than females on multiple choice sections but not on written answer sections of the final exam. Non-minority students do better in the multiple choice section, but not in the written answer section, than minority students. Finally, there is some evidence that longer travel times to and from campus also reduce academic performance.Â
Cleverly, they control for UAI, to get around the problem that smart kids performers might be more likely – or less likely – to come to class. For an average student, perfect attendance buys you about one more letter grade. These findingsÂ raise two possibilities in my mind. The first is that students are rationally optimising their behaviour, and the cost of dropping a letter grade is pretty small (in which case universities shouldn’t do anything to promote attendance). The second is thatÂ students are hyperbolic discounters, and would probably be made better off under a scheme that mandated class attendance.