Class Attendance and Exam Performance: A Randomized Experiment

Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 213-227, Summer 2008

Posted: 17 Jun 2006 Last revised: 27 Oct 2008

Jennjou Chen

National Chengchi University (NCCU)

Tsui-Fang Lin

National Taipei University

Date Written: July 1, 2008

Abstract

The determination of college students' academic performance is an important issue in higher education. Whether students' attendance at lectures affects students' exam performance has received considerable attention. The authors conduct a randomized experiment to study the average attendance effect for students who choose to attend lectures, which is known in program evaluation literature as the average treatment effect on the treated. This effect has long been neglected by researchers when estimating the impact of lecture attendance on students' academic performance. Under the randomized experiment approach, the results suggest that class attendance has a positive and significant impact on college students' exam performance. On average, the effect of attending lectures corresponds to a 9.4 percent to 18.0 percent improvement in exam performance for those who choose to attend classes. In comparison, the improvement is only 5.1 percent, using the empirical method of existing studies, which measures the overall average attendance impact.

Keywords: attendance, experiment, treatment effect, undergraduate

JEL Classification: A22, I21

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jennjou and Lin, Tsui-Fang, Class Attendance and Exam Performance: A Randomized Experiment (July 1, 2008). Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 213-227, Summer 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=908923

Jennjou Chen (Contact Author)

National Chengchi University (NCCU) ( email )

No. 64, Chih-Nan Road
Section 2
Wenshan, Taipei, 11623
Taiwan

Tsui-Fang Lin

National Taipei University ( email )

Department of Public Finance
Taipei City 104
Taiwan

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