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Student and Faculty Perceptions of Attendance Policies at a Polytechnic University The goal of an attendance policy is to improve the academic success of students. However,current literature does not provide clear conclusions whether enforcing an attendance policy actually improves student performance. This study explores student and faculty perceptions regarding the utility of attendance policies in undergraduate courses at a polytechnic university.Anonymous surveys were completed by 89 faculty members and 455 responses from five schools (Engineering, Engineering Technology and Management, Computer and Software Engineering, Architecture, and Arts and Sciences) on a single campus. Comparisons between theperceptions of students and faculty members are presented, as are comparisons between theperceptions of lower-level and upper-level students. Variations in perceptions based on major arealso highlighted. Finally, trends in perceptions regarding attendance policies in lower-level versus upper-level undergraduate courses are revealed.Students, regardless of major, class standing, or course level, reported attending more classes in courses that had attendance policies. The most significant impact of an attendance policy on class attendance was observed at the freshman level. While 84% of freshmen reported attending at least 90% of the classes in a course with an attendance policy, only 67% reported attending at that rate in a course without one. Qualitative data containing student and faculty attitudes towards attendance policies are also analyzed and discussed.Even though class attendance appeared to have improved as a result of attendance policies,students’ perceptions about these policies varied significantly. Overall, the majority of students(51%) believed that, for a course with an attendance policy, the policy positively affected final grades. For a course without an attendance policy, the majority (57%) felt that the lack of a policy had no impact of final grades. Faculty members’ perceptions about attendance policy likewise varied. Overall, 61% of the faculty members surveyed reported having an attendance policy in one or more of their courses. The majority of faculty members believed that an attendance policy led to improvements in students’ grades in lower-level courses, but not inupper-level courses. Collectively, this study can help instructors make better informed decisions about the use of attendance policies in their courses.

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ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington



American Society for Engineering Education

Additional Information

Keshav R Acharya was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

Required Publisher’s Statement

© 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.