Monday, August 31, 2015

The Science of Absenteeism

by Nicholas Walker
Empty ChairThere are plenty of good reasons to skip class: if you have a contagious disease or have a doctor’s appointment that you cannot reschedule, if car trouble or bad weather interferes with your commute, or if you are flat broke and need to work an extra shift to make rent and avoid eviction. Most people would understand if you had to miss a lesson under these circumstances.

Surprisingly, these are not the reasons most university students give for cutting class. Students at one university rated low-quality lectures as the most important reason, followed by deadlines for other academic work, the lecturer’s inability to entertain, a lack of sleep, and attendance being unnecessary due to the availability of lecture notes outside of class (Clay & Breslow, 2006). These are the reasons students will admit to. But what about hidden reasons?


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