Skipping class in college and exam performance: Evidence from a regression discontinuity classroom experiment
In this paper we estimate the effect of class attendance on exam performance by implementing a policy in three large economics classes that required students scoring below the median on the midterm exam to attend class. This policy generated a large discontinuity in the rate of post-midterm attendance at the median of the midterm score. We estimate that near the policy threshold, the post-midterm attendance rate was 36 percentage points higher for those students facing compulsory attendance. The discontinuous attendance policy is also associated with a significant difference in performance on the final exam. We estimate that a 10 percentage point increase in a student's overall attendance rate results in a 0.17 standard deviation increase in the final exam score without adversely affecting performance on other classes taken concurrently.
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