Attendance Policies

Many researchers acknowledge that attendance can be a fundamental factor in enhancing student achievement in learning settings (Lai & Chan, 2000; Lin & Chen, 2006; Marburger, 2006). Levine discusses students’ responses to a variety of attendance policies in her article. In general, the researcher distinguishes three types of attendance policies:

  1. Required explicit where attendance is required and absence adversely affects the student’s final grade;
  2. Not required implicit where there is no requirement for attendance, attendance does not affect the grade and there is no announcement of the attendance policy to the students;
  3. Not required explicit where there is an announcement that attendance is not required or counted in the final grade but attendance was otherwise encouraged by the professor.

Her conclusion reveals that when more students were required or encouraged to attend a class, the attendance rate was higher. In addition to this, if a student missed classes frequently, that student was less likely to do well in that particular course. As a result, she examined the significant impact of attendance policy and found the following results (Levine, 1992):

  1. When attendance was explicitly required, 80% of the students missed 4 times or less and less than 1% missed 8 times or more.
  2. When the attendance policy was non-required and implicit, 73% of the students missed 4 times or less and almost 7% missed 8 times or more.
  3. When the attendance policy was explicitly non-required, only 52% of the students missed 4 or fewer times while 18% of students missed 8 times or more.

How much do you agree with these results? Do you think that you would reach to similar results if you have implemented these policies in your courses? Please log in to leave your comments.


Lai, P., & Chan, K. C. (2000). Should class attendance be mandatory? Atlantic Economic Journal, 28(3), 377.

Levine, J. (1992). The effect of different attendance policies on student attendance and achievement, in Eastern Psychological Association Conference.

Lin, T, & Chen, J. (2006). Cumulative class attendance and exam performance. Applied Economic Letters, 13(13), 937-942.

Marburger, D. R. (2006). Does mandatory attendance improve student performance? Journal of Economic Education, 37(2), 148-155.