School of Education Seminar Series – Why Do Students Skip Classes?

Where: Francis Close Hall Campus, University of Gloucestershire. Room TC005

Cost: Free

Why do students skip classes? And is the carrot or stick the better remedy? with James Derounian

FCH – TC005 – Wednesday 8th May 16:00

James Derounian specialises in research and teaching around community engagement, rural issues, and interactive approaches to teaching and learning. James has undertaken consultancies for international (e.g. Romanian Historic Monuments’ Commission), national (Carnegie UK Trust) and local (Oxfordshire Rural Community Council) organisations. He is particularly skilled at facilitating learning for part time, mature, distance learning students and has published articles regularly for the Guardian newspaper, on higher education and localism.


The session will start with a literature review about why undergraduates skip classes. Secondary sources clearly show that student absences are a global phenomenon. Longhurst (1999) gauged the average rate of undergraduate absenteeism across disciplines at 20–30%. Furthermore, there appear to be a number of key reasons why students absent themselves from contact sessions: including passive and (poor) quality teaching; ‘early’ and ‘late’ lecture slots, plus the day of the week.

The session will move on to review whether the ‘carrot’ – that is inducements (such as mark awards for attendance) – or the ‘stick’ (punitive sanctions, e.g. mark deductions; geo-location) are more likely to increase attendance/ reduce absence. Interestingly the literature is split down the middle as to which is the more effective.

The co-presenters – two level 5 undergraduate researchers – will then briefly report original 2018/19 research findings, including student feedback on why and what can usefully be done. Learning Analytics data (from the UoG) will also inform the presentation and discussion. This topic will appeal to teaching lecturers, students and other HEI staff. Full audience participation will be encouraged.

We look forward to seeing you all there and welcoming you to participate in the research community here at the School of Education. Places are free but please book here.