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Skipping class in college and exam performance: Evidence from a regression discontinuity classroom experiment

  • Dobkin, Carlos
  • Gil, Ricard
  • Marion, Justin

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 566-575

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:4:p:566-575
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  1. Peter Dolton & Oscar Marcenaro & Lucia Navarro, 2001. "The effective use of student time: A stochastic frontier production function case study," CEE Discussion Papers 0010, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Schmidt, Robert M, 1983. "Who Maximizes What? A Study in Student Time Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 23-28, May.
  3. Elchanan Cohn & Eric Johnson, 2006. "Class Attendance and Performance in Principles of Economics," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 211-233.
  4. David Romer, 1993. "Do Students Go to Class? Should They?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 167-174, Summer.
  5. Massimiliano Bratti & Stefano Staffolani, 2002. "Student time allocation and educational production functions," HEW 0207001, EconWPA.
  6. James, Estelle, et al, 1989. "College Quality and Future Earnings: Where Should You Send Your Child to College?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 247-52, May.
  7. Ethel B. Jones & John D. Jackson, 1990. "College Grades and Labor Market Rewards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 253-266.
  8. Daniel R. Marburger, 2006. "Does Mandatory Attendance Improve Student Performance?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 148-155, April.
  9. Rodgers, Joan R, 2002. "Encouraging Tutorial Attendance at University Did Not Improve Performance," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 255-66, September.
  10. Daniel R. Marburger, 2001. "Absenteeism and Undergraduate Exam Performance," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 99-109, January.
  11. Stephen Devadoss & John Foltz, 1996. "Evaluation of Factors Influencing Student Class Attendance and Performance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 499-507.
  12. Wise, David A, 1975. "Academic Achievement and Job Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 350-66, June.
  13. Durden, Garey C & Ellis, Larry V, 1995. "The Effects of Attendance on Student Learning in Principles of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 343-46, May.
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