The relationship between attendance policies and student grades
The relationship between attendance policies and student grades in college courses was investigated. Specifically, a calculated grade point average was determined for all academic classes taught at Shelton State Community College between 2000 and 2008. These grade point averages were compared descriptively and statistically in an effort to document any changes in student grades that occurred before and after 2003. For this study, 2003 was a critical year since that was the year that Shelton State Community College moved from a mandatory, punitive attendance policy to a policy that only documented student attendance. Therefore, any changes in student grades before and after 2003 should correlate with changes in the institution's attendance policy. Furthermore, this project investigated the relationship between class standing (freshman or sophomore), demographics and student grades. The findings indicated a positive correlation between a punitive attendance policy and student grades. Moreover, there was a positive relationship illustrated between freshman grades and punitive attendance policies. The data further proved that sophomores achieved higher grades than freshmen and the higher grades were not related to the change in attendance policy. Finally, this study indicated that demographics was not related to student grades. Current literature is mixed regarding the relationship between attendance and student grades. (Gump, 2005; Hammen & Kellend, 1994). This study provided weight to the view that attendance was related to student grades. Specifically, a positive relationship between a punitive attendance policy and final grades was observed. Student experience level was also implicated as a factor that was correlated with college grades. In general, grades in freshman biology classes were higher when the institution was using a punitive attendance policy. However, grades in sophomore classes did not change as the college moved from a punitive to a nonpunitive attendance policy. Finally, this project indicated that student demographics were not related to final course grades.