This presentation outlines the findings from a three-year project capturing first year undergraduate attendance data. Built from the ground-up the system was developed to collect and analyse attendance data, retrospectively building reports based on aggregate data to help identify areas of weakness, enabling interventions to be put into place and to assist in generating meaningful conversations with students about the nature and quality of their learning. When combined with automated assessment feedback it gives students a clearer understanding of what is required to successfully complete coursework and a better measure of the strength of the relationship between attendance and achievement. The data can also be structured in such a way to work alongside and triangulate with other data being gathered for learner analytic purposes.
Qualitative and quantitative feedback from staff and students is positive and shows the system is well received. At the time of writing we are just completing the data collection for 2016-2017. Once the teaching period has ended, three years of data can be fully analysed to see what effect it has had on student success and the results will be presented at the session. Early indications are demonstrating an improvement in both attendance and outcomes in terms of marks whilst showing a decline in withdrawal rates but it must be stated that establishing whether these factors are linked by causation, correlation or a mix of both will be difficult in an ethically proper experimental setting. Attendance capture played a vital part in an immersive learning assignment. Such was the success (only two out of over sixty students had to re-sit) that the students themselves requested the scheme be extended into their second year. The module also had a much higher ‘first pass’ rate than other modules.
The session will consist of 4 parts lasting 10 minutes each:
a) PowerPoint and video presentation
b) Interactive live demonstration (based on radio-frequency technology). All attendees will be given plastic tag cards to capture their presence and the results displayed through the ‘live’ register with explanations from the student and staff perspective
c) Participants working in small groups will experience the data, gaining an insight into what it is telling and discuss who takes responsibility / ownership.
This study will be of interest to academics wishing to use attendance data for enhancing the outcomes and achievement in the students’ learning and teaching experience.
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Thomas, L. (2012) ‘Building Student Engagement and Belonging in Higher Education at a Time of Change: Final Report from the What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme’, The Higher Education Academy [Online]. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/what_works_final_report.pdf (Accessed: 27 March 2017).