First and foremost, the scholarly articles that have reported on the relationship between student attendance and ‘performance’ (grades, completion, etc) highlight the fact that there is a very clear correlation between student success and student attendance.
A review of the research literature published by the American Educational Research Association (Credé et al (2010)) concludes: “Class Attendance is a better predictor of college grades than any other known predictor of college grades; including SAT scores, HSGPA, studying skills, and the amount of time spent studying”. It then goes on to say: “Indeed, the relationship is so strong as to suggest that dramatic improvements in average grades (and failure rates) could be achieved by efforts to increase class attendance rates among college students.”
Put simply, the evidence shows clearly that class attendance is the primary indicator of likely success for students in higher education. So, if we can improve student attendance, we can improve their chances of success; a real Win:Win for students and their institutions
We are interested and we care – staff and student welfare
Knowing the link between attendance and success, institutions who record attendance are able to demonstrate that they understand the importance of this key metric of student success and are committed to helping their students to succeed in their studies. The literature also shows that early, timely and sensitive interventions improve outcomes for students and gathering attendance tracking data facilitates this approach.
Using attendance tracking data effectively not only enhances successful academic outcomes, it can help to reduce the debt that students generate during their studies by minimising the need for any extension of studies.
Attendance data can also provide invaluable pastoral information by highlighting students who may be having personal challenges unrelated to their studies. This includes not only the potentially conflicting demands of their studies, their work and their families, but also medical and other issues that might otherwise go undetected until a crisis point is reached.
A key element of the Win:Win that attendance tracking delivers is a clear improvement in institutional funding. There is a positive impact on revenue generation arising from better retention and reputation.
This is a major benefit when it comes to maintenance costs and capital expenditure on estate development. Activity monitoring provides information on the way the teaching estate is used and inform scheduling decisions to make efficient use of the space available, maintenance decisions about ‘what and when’ and, capital expenditure decisions about what ‘size and shape’ of estate best suits the needs of students and staff alike.
We acknowledge our responsibilities to stakeholders
Every institution has a wide range of stakeholders including those providing funding for students to enable them to study. Major stakeholders in this category include Federal and State Financial Aid in the US and the Student Loans Company in the UK. Where public funds are being invested in higher education, those providing access to these funds place obligations on institutions in receipt of these funds to assure them that the money is being used appropriately. This enables them to provide, in turn, accountability and assurance to their respective taxpayers.
Attendance tracking data can provide this assurance, since it demonstrates that institutions in receipt of such funding take their obligations seriously. This can be extended to employers providing tuition fee and other financial support to support investment.