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Am J Physiol. 1994 Dec;267(6 Pt 3):S105-8.

Attendance and grades in a human physiology course.

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Department of Zoology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston 02881.


Teaching a lecture course in introductory human physiology with 40-183 students provided an opportunity to test the hypothesis that regular attendance is correlated with higher examination scores. Data on 556 students were recorded during five semesters, each consisting of three classes per week for 14 weeks. The students were in the second year of pharmacy, nursing, physical education, and dental hygiene programs. Attendance was recorded in each class. Regular attendance was encouraged but was not used to influence scores. The maximum possible score was 400 points, based on two 1-h examinations and a 2-h final examination. Examinations consisted of multiple-choice questions derived from reading assignments in a required textbook. Linear regression analysis indicated a small negative relation between total point scores and absences, amounting to an average decrease of 2 points for each absence, or a decrease of 0.5% per absence. Correlation coefficients averaged -0.33. The results suggest that regular attendance was helpful in a statistical sense but was not a decisive factor in learning human physiology as presented in current textbooks.

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