Purpose– There is growing evidence that learning is faster, measurably better and more productive in a classroom setting when a student attends classes regularly. Each student brings in his/her experience, skills, and unique learning styles to a class – thus a classroom environment can potentially create positive externalities through which a student can gain substantially from various strengths of his/her peers. However, students do remain absent from their classes for a variety of reasons. One of the measurable effects of regular non-attendance in a university class, where students from various cultures and regions interact, is the academic performance. The purpose of this paper is to determine if there is any potential causal link between absenteeism (attendance) and academic performance. Design/methodology/approach– Data were culled from the records of three batches of students in a British university campus in the Middle East. Quantile regression methods were used to establish the causal relationship between absenteeism and academic performance. Findings– A quantile regression analysis reveals that absenteeism has negative impact on academic performance. This also suggests that low performers are worse affected by absenteeism as compared to the high performers. Research limitations/implications– Inclusion of some other factors, such as study habits, additional hours spent on quantitative modules, student’s ethnicity background, particularly in the context of United Arab Emirates, could have emboldened the robustness of the study. Non-availability or paucity of this information, to some degree, has limited the conclusions of this study. Originality/value– Proponents of mandatory attendance argue that there is a positive correlation between attendance and performance. But, one very important issue which gets overlooked is who actually benefits more by attending classes – are the shirkers who have a poor attendance record or the ones who are more sincere, more regular, and active participants in a class? This study uses quantile regression analysis to address this issue.
Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 4, 2016