Absenteeism: Its Effects on the Academic Performance of Selected SHS Students

A literature review by Alexis Dela Rosa

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime Uniersity – Arevalo, Inc. 2017

Attendance is an important factor in school success among children and

youth. Studies show that better attendance is related to higher academic

achievement for students of all backgrounds, but particularly for children with lower

socio-economic status.Beginning in kindergarten, students who attend school

regularly score higher on tests than their peers who are frequently absent.Many

factors can contribute to student absenteeism. Family health or financial concerns,

poor school climate, drug and alcohol use, transportation problems, and differing

community attitudes towards education are among the conditions that are often

associated with a child’s frequent absence from school.

Relevant resources which have been published stated that lacking of and/or

poor attendance inside the classroom has been a major factor for the downfall of

students’ academic performance. According to Aden, Yahye and Dahir (2013),

attendance in school is important because students are more likely to succeed in

academics when they attend school consistently. It is difficult for teachers and

students to build skills and progress if large numbers of students are frequently

absent. In addition to falling behind in academics, students who are not in school on

a regular basis are more likely to get into trouble with the law and cause problems

in their communities (Hocking, 2008).
According to Hacque (2012), it is widely believed in academia, that consistent

class attendance is a key factor in the academic success of students. Several

studies have quantitatively confirmed this belief, revealing that absenteeism

negatively impacts student academic performance. Stanca used a large panel data

set from an introductory microeconomics course to correlate the effects of

attendance on course performance. Overall, the research results indicated that,

even after controlling for unobservable student characteristics (such as ability,

effort, and motivation), attendance still exhibited a statistically significant and

quantitatively relevant effect on student achievement. Marburger7 investigated the

relationship between students' absenteeism and subsequent exam performance in a

basic microeconomics course. Records were maintained regarding the specific class

sessions missed by students throughout the semester. Records were also kept of the

sessions wherein course materials relating to specific multiple-choice test questions

were discussed. A qualitative choice model revealed that students who missed class

on a particular date were significantly more likely to respond incorrectly to

questions relating to that session’s material than were students who had been

present. Choudhury used a multiple regression analysis to examine the relationship

between absenteeism and final grade performance in a construction materials and

methods course. External factors including the differences in academic ability, quiz

performance, and student gender were also included in the model to determine if

absenteeism maintained its role as a statistically relevant factor in grade

performance. The findings generated from the analysis indicated that attendance

and academic ability of a student positively correlated with student performance in

the course.
Schools need to give serious thought to their attendance policies as these

policies may be the most important factors in student performance inside the

classroom (Mora, 1987). In addition to its impact on students' grades, absenteeism

has a powerful effect on the school as a whole because “missing school hinders

students' learning as well as that of their classmates when it leads to repetition of

lessons and naterials in class” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002). Not

only do grades drop as students have a higher absentee rate, but several studies

indicate that standardized test scores, state standards assessments, and even

graduation rates all drop as student absenteeism increases (Strickland, 1998).

A Probabilistic Neural Net (PNN) based Genetic Algorithm model was trained

to classify the pass/fail patterns of 130 students’ class attendance records and their

grade performance in a structural systems course taught by the author. Absence

records were divided into three groups following the course exam schedule. The

importance/weight of students’ absence sequences on their grade performance was

also determined. It was found that attendance in the early phases of the semester

had the most significant bearing on final performance. The trained network model

was then validated for its predictive capability using a new set of 80 students’

attendance records. The area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC)

curves for both network training and evaluation phases indicated satisfactory

agreement between actual and network predicted student performance. The study

shows the ease by which a trained network can be used to correlate and predict the

likelihood of students’ academic success on the basis of quantifiable sets of external

factors.
The study found that the consistent class attendance is a key factor in the

academic success of students, and class absenteeism negatively impacts students’

ultimate course results. The results of this study can be used to demonstrate to new

students the importance of class attendance, and motivate them not to miss classes

in order to be successful in the course. The present study also found that

attendance within the first of the three phases of the semester had the most

significant bearing on the final performance. In order to make all the phases with

nearly equal importance/weight, the author has divided the entire course into four

segments with more or less equal amount of course contents, and has been offering

since last year. In the present study, the PNN model was trained to classify the

correlation between student performance (PASS/FAIL) and the external factors (three

groups of class absence record for entire semester). The grades, “A”, “B” and “C”

were considered as “PASS”, and grades, “D” and “F” as “FAIL”. The author believes

that the PNN model can be improved to allow predictions at the level of grades - A,

B, C, D, and F. To improve the model, the author will be considering in future

research additional inputs, such as students past grades on prerequisite courses

(Structure I, Mathematics, Physics).

The purpose of this research was to develop a Probabilistic Neural Net (PNN)

based Genetic Algorithm to assess the relationship between absenteeism and

student grade performance in a structural systems course taught by the author.The

model was trained to classify the outcomes (pass/fail) of 130 students using records

of class attendance and end-of-course final grades. The relative importance/weight

of attendance on final grades was then determined. It was found that course

attendance and grade performance were positively correlated. The model was then

used to accurately predict the success rate of a new group of 80 students based on
provided attendance records. Based on this study, the researchers found out that

attendance and the academic performance of a student are correlated and holds a

certain relationship together that provide a cause and effect.

According to Aden, Yahye and Dahir (2013), attendance in school is important

because students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school

consistently (Pascopella, 2007). It is difficult for teachers and students to build skills

and progress if large numbers of students are frequently absent. In addition to

falling behind in academics, students who are not in school on a regular basis are

more likely to get into trouble with the law and cause problems in their communities

(Hocking, 2008). What factors lead to student absenteeism and would the

implementation of an incentive program motivate students to come to Campus

regularly in last semester students of faculty of business and accountancy in SIMAD

University are carried out in accordance of established goals, policies and

procedures” In European Union, it is commonly assumed that university students

benefit from attending lectures. This assumption, however, needs to be tested, as

developments in information technology are increasingly calling for a reassessment

of the traditional approach to university education, largely based on physical

attendance of lectures and classes, and a number of alternative weightless

educational models, based on distance learning, are being introduced (Stanca,

2004). In the past decade, a number of studies have examined the relationship

between students' attendance (or absenteeism) and academic performance,

generally finding that attendance does matter for academic achievement (e.g.

Durden and Ellis (1995), Devadoss and Foltz (1996), Chan et al. (1997), Marburger

(2001), Rodgers (2001), Bratti and Sta®olani (2002), Dolton et al. (2003), Kirby and

McElroy (2003)). This kind of evidence has led some authors to call for measures to
increase student attendance and even to consider the possibility of making

attendance mandatory in some undergraduate courses. The main problem in

assessing the effects of attendance on academic performance is that attendance

levels are not exogenous, given that Internal controls is the whole system of

controls financial and otherwise established by management in order to carry on

business of an organization in an orderly manner to ensure adherence to

management policies, safeguard the assets and secure as possible the

completeness and accuracy of records (Ramaswany, 1994). The study of

determinants of a college students’ academic performance is an important issue in

higher education, among all factors, whether or not attending lectures and

classroom discussions affects a students’ exam performance has received

considerable attention (Chen and Lin, 2006). It is commonly assumed that

university students benefit from attending lectures (Stanca, 2004). Lectures and

other class meetings are a primary means of instructions in almost all

undergraduate courses (Romer, 1993). Research has revealed significant

relationships between attendance and grades which concluded that initial

attendance is a lair predictor of future academic performance (Gunn, n.d). The total

amount of time that students report studying has often been examined as a

potential predictor of success in school. It might seem that the more time that

students spend studying, the better grades they should receive (Plant, Ericsson, Hill

and Asberg, 2005). In the context of Somalia, the students’ attendance and

academic performance seem to be more important points in educational institutions

for students’ evaluation. Thus, this study was investigate the relationship between

students’ attendance and the academic performance of Somali higher education

students.
This study examined the effect of student’s attendance on academic

performance in Simad University by offering questionnaires to the student

BBA09(A), BBA09(B) and BACC11 to assess the first variable of the study (Factors

that affect students attendance) and the resulted of the analysis indicate that

SIMAD university were Highly effected these factors according to the mean index of

2.59 that respondents answered strongly agree and agree, the findings of the study

were disconfirmed; “The influence of class attendance on student learning at SU”

(Menkveld, 2009) On other hand this study was examined second variable of the

study (the relationship between attendance and academic performance), this study

found a strong positive relationship between student’s attendance and academic

performance in SIMAD university Mogadishu. While Suleiman (12) found, the study

revealed a strong positive relationship between Class Attendance and Cumulative

GPA for Academic success in Industrial Engineering Classes.

Some of the studies was to specifically investigate the relationship between

student attendance and academic performance in SIMAD University in Mogadishu,

Somalia. An empirical investigation was undertaken, using the simple correlation

analytical technique, specifically the Pearson product movement correlation

coefficient (PPMC).

For many years, the application of artificial neural networks in pattern

recognition and classification has been extensively studied. Various network

architectures including multi layer perception (MLP) neural networks, radial basis

function (RBF) neural networks, self-organizing map (SOM) neural networks, and

probabilistic neural networks (PNN) have been proposed.
Because of its ease of model training and its sound statistical foundation in

Bayesian Estimation Theory, PNNs have become effective tools for solving a wide

range of classification problems. Kramer, Mckay, and Belina10 used an array of

three PNNs to classify signals of an electrocardiogram (ECG) in biomedical

applications; Romero, Touretzky, and Thibadeau11 applied PNNs to Chinese Optical

Character Recognition (OCR). Haque and Sudhakar12 applied

ANN Back-propagation (BP) to predict fracture toughness in micro alloy steel.

The author believes that an artificial neural network (ANN) model can

similarly be trained to classify the correlation between student performance

(pass/fail or grades A, B, C, D, F) and external factors. Hence, the author’s objective

of this research was to implement a Probabilistic

Neural Net (PNN) based Genetic Algorithm model to determine the effect of

absenteeism on overall student grade performance in his Structural Systems II

course.

The most prominently identified characteristics of the at-risk student, which is

absenteeism, has a strong link to low academic achievement. According to the

Office ofvtge Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the United States

Department of Health and Human Services, absenteeism has an adverse effect on

student academic success (1997), seriously affecting students' chances of success

after high school (DeKalb, 1999). Research exists that indicates a high correlation at

the college level between absenteeism and academic achievement (Van Blerkom,

1996). High school, elementary, and college level students are all affected by

absenteeism. A higher rate of absenteeism can have a positive effect on all grades,

but the school circumstances can put students at risk (Foy, 2010).