Improving Attendance

Decorative: "Attend today, Achieve tomorrow"

 

"Encouraging Student Attendance" (webpage) offers practical strategies for "cultivating an audience" by laying out "ways students benefit when they attend class" (which we can pass on to our students), "ways faculty benefit when students attend class" (as motivation for us to encourage attendance), and 16 specific tactics to encourage attendance.

Under five categories, the page offers the following suggestions (most elaborated in the text):

1. Class Structure and Content

  • "Test on material covered in class." 
  • "Avoid repetition of the textbook or assigned readings."
  • If you provide notes on a website, do not make these 'a transcript of class.'"
  • "Recognize that being informative and being entertaining are not mutually exclusive." 
  • Make "the subject matter ... personally relevant" for "deeper and more meaningful" understanding.
  • "Structure class meetings so students who must be in class for one activity, such as an in-class writing activity, also participate in another, like reviewing feedback on an exam."

2. Policies

  • "Require attendance and attach it to grades."
  • "Grade class participation."
  • "Use in-class quizzes or assignments."
  • Have "[p]olicies that explain the consequences for missed exams or late assignments."

3. Model the Behavior We Wish To See

  • "We may be unintentionally modeling the very behavior that we deem undesirable in students by arriving late to class, being unprepared, and not keeping appointments, including office hours. "

4. Classroom Atmosphere

  • "Require respect among students and model this behavior by respecting your students." 
  • "Consider creative, fun ways of rewarding attendance."

5. Individual Accountability

  • "[L]earn student names as quickly as possible."
  • "Cal[l] a student by name [to] demonstrat[e] that you have an interest in the individual as well as the group."
  • [P]rovide individual praise and express your concern to absentees."