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Why Aren’t Students Attending Non-Mandatory Classes? A #mycuriosity BCM212 Study

For one of my subjects BCM212 (Understanding Research Practice) we are to do a research project along the theme of the University Experience.For my project I wish to learn and study why students aren’t attending non-mandatory classes.

Through my university experience so far, as the semester goes on and, in my lectures, I’ve noticed a continuous drop and lack of student attendance in non-mandatory classes. I am one to be found guilty of this, as well are many of my fellow peers. I am curious in understanding the reasons as to why students are not attending non-mandatory classes. I believe also many teachers are too, do they feel like they are wasting their time to a half empty class? And because of this lack of attendance, we see it come to the case that classes can ultimately be made mandatory and therefore can impact on students grades eg. overall class attendance can equal 10% of grade.

So we must ask the question, why? Why do we pick to miss the class rather than sit and learn something? Do we see it as pointless? A waste of money that we will one day pay back? What makes us say no? Is there a universal reason as to why? Or is this the stigma of don’t go to class because we don’t have too ?

So to begin my journey, I began doing some research. Through a poll I released on Twitter to my cohort I received some different reasons as to why they may not attend non-mandatory classes.

With 28 participants in the poll, 39.3% said they don’t attend these classes simply because they can’t be bothered to go, following that was the 28.6% that selected work reasons. Closely followed by social reasons (17.9%) and health reasons (14.35) being the least selected option. This large response to my question gives me the guide that people are interested in this topic. Research and articles released with the similar question also give me a guideline that this topic is of interest to people.

James and Seary in their study have asked the same question that I seek an answer too. They performed a research project that “Sought to better understand enabling students’ conceptions of the benefits of attending face to face on campus classes & the factors that influence their choices to attend”. (James T & Seary K 2019) The factors they found that contributed to lack of attendance were similar themes, being,  health, finance and academic ability. These are notably similar to the themes that I also released in the above-mentioned twitter poll.

Those students who attended the most class achieved a better
academic performance which was reflected in the final mark

Jose Manuel Navarro Jover, Jose Antonio Matinez Ramirez 2017

Furthermore, to continue the pursuit of why I will be conducting my own research. I will be collecting primary data from my fellow UOW students – mainly qualitative data through survey questions and Twitter polls much like the one that I shared earlier. The survey will be hosted on Google forms and the obvious aim of who I’d like to take it is university students. This use of a survey will grant me the ability to have an in depth and personal understanding why my fellow peers may miss their non-mandatory classes. Twitter polls gives me a chance of reaching a further audience and more summarised yet concise answer to questions I may have.


I will also be looking into a number of scholarly journals and with reference to their own research, I will draw my conclusion as to why university students miss non mandatory classes. This compilation of primary and secondary research is useful in helping me gather research in a timely manner rather than myself having to conduct multiple methods of research. Due to the limited sample I have access to and the limited time frame, they also assist me with this.

A few of the relevant articles that I’m using in my research are;

Why aren’t they attending class like they are supposed to? A review into students’ perception of the value of class attendance – Trixie James & Karen Seary

Academic Performance, Class Attendance and Seating Location of University Students in Practical Lecture – Jose Manuel Navarro Jover, Jose Antonio Matinez Ramirez

Why Students Don’t Attend Class – Tom Clay & Lori Breslow MIT

Does Attendance Matter? An Examination of Student Attitudes, Participation, Performance and Attendance – P.Massingham & T.Herrington UOW

In conclusion, this large amount of primary and secondary research being done by myself and previously done by others I believe I will be able to draw a  conclusion into discovering why students aren’t attending these classes & possibly some ideas that can be discussed to make students want to go to non-mandatory classes.

Bibliography –

James, T., & Seary, K.(2019). Why aren’t they attending class like they are supposed to? A review into students’ perception of the value of class attendance.Student Success, 10(1), 115-129

Navarro Jover, J. and Martínez Ramírez, J., 2017. Academic Performance, Class Attendance And Seating Location Of University Students In Practical Lectures.

Clay, T. and Breslow, L., 2006. Why Students Don’t Attend Class. [online] Available at: <;

Massingham, P. and Herrington, T., 2006. Does Attendance Matter? An Examination Of Student Attitudes, Participation, Performance And Attendance. [online] Available at: <;


Published by Alex Cooper

UOW Communication and Media Student - Majoring in Digital and Social Media - Minoring in Graphic Design

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