Improving Student Attendance

While preventing all students from missing class may not be possible, there are strategies that can help lessen the problem. The best approach will vary based on the course.

Establish Clear Expectations

  • On the first day, let students know what they will gain from attending class (e.g. practice in applying concepts; active involvement with course content; participation in collaborative activities; points for participation).
  • Explain that research shows that attendance is a better predictor of college grades than any other predictor of academic performance.
  • Let students know what they will lose by not attending class (e.g. opportunities to learn from peers; chances to find out how well they understand material; practice for exams; points towards grades; opportunities to ask questions).

Make Class Time Necessary

  • Incorporate active instructional methods into your course that allow students to apply the information learned at a higher level.
  • Have students read part or all of the reading prior to class and use class time to work with concepts in an active way.
  • Foster peer interdependence by devoting part of class to working in groups on assignments or problems.
  • Use a portion of class time to do things not easily accomplished in another way.
  • Make class participation points a substantial part of the final grade.

Connect with Your Students

  • Learn students’ names. Whenever calling on students or answering questions in class, ask the student to tell you their name so you can practice learning names. Set a challenge with your students that you will learn all their names by a certain date in the semester.
  • Take your office hours out of the office. Hold your office hours in a campus coffee shop, cafeteria, or lounge.
  • Send an email message to those students whose attendance is lagging to show your concern.
  • Provide alternatives for students with legitimate reasons for missing class to make up work. Post course materials on HuskyCT to ensure students who have to miss class can keep up.