n South African Journal of Higher Education - What's the story with class attendance? First-year students : statistics and perspectives




There is a growing concern among academics regarding the poor class attendance patterns of undergraduate students. The reasons why students choose to attend or not attend classes have been investigated from numerous perspectives. Many have sought to explore the relationship between class attendance and academic performance. While there is much coherence in the findings of these studies, it is also apparent that contextual influences play an important role. Thus, this article describes a study undertaken at Stellenbosch University under the auspices of its First-year Academy. While the study demonstrated much agreement with earlier research, it also highlighted interesting trends among the different programmes and faculties, and among different groups of first-year students. Ultimately, the article points to a way forward in which students are made more directly aware of the potential value of attending class. Implicit, however, is the caveat that such classes offer meaningful learning opportunities.


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