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Adv Physiol Educ. 2018 Dec 1;42(4):593-598. doi: 10.1152/advan.00123.2018.

Relationship between classroom attendance and examination performance in a second-year medical pathophysiology class.

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College of Medicine, University of Central Florida , Orlando, Florida.


Studies completed with undergraduate populations have shown that attendance positively correlates with academic performance. A marked decline in classroom attendance within medical school has recently been noticed with the availability of video capture of lectures and other online material. This study compares these in the era of online material. It took place during the second-year Gastrointestinal and Renal Systems module. Attendance was mandatory at team-based learning and case-based learning sessions on new material and voluntary at lectures (29 sessions) and case-based learning on material previously covered (9 sessions). Attendance was recorded prospectively. All lectures were recorded, and all related files were available to students online. Performance was based on a 118 multiple-choice question final examination. Students voluntarily completed the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). The study group consisted of 78 students (68% of 114 total) of whom 48 completed the MSLQ. Mean attendance was 24%, with 33% of students attending none of the nonmandatory sessions. The median score on the final exam for participants was 86.0 (range: 28.8). High levels of self-efficacy and the ability to self-regulate effort were predictive of low attendance. Attendance was positively predicted by an orientation toward peer learning and help seeking. There was no correlation between the percentage of classes attended and performance on the final exam. We conclude that different facets of self-regulated learning predict attendance, with highly confident students being the least likely to attend, and that attendance at in-class sessions is no longer a good marker for performance.


classroom attendance; medical education; student engagement

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