The Use of Random Extra Credit Quizzes to Increase Student Attendance

By Wilder, David A.; Flood, William A. et al. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2001 | Go to article overview

The Use of Random Extra Credit Quizzes to Increase Student Attendance


Wilder, David A., Flood, William A., Stromsnes, Wibecke, Journal of Instructional Psychology


The effect of random extra credit quizzes on student attendance in an undergraduate course on the psychology of learning was examined. A B-A-B reversal design was used to measure quiz effects. The results indicated that student attendance increased by 10% when the quizzes were in place. In addition, student attendance was positively correlated with overall course score, and student response to the extra credit quiz system was favorable. The results are discussed in terms of the use of positive reinforcement-based approaches to increasing student attendance.

A number of studies have shown that student attendance positively correlates with student performance in high school and college courses (Buckalew, Daly, & Coffield, 1986; Kooker, 1976, Turner, 1927; Van Blerkom, 1992). However, a dearth of research exists on methods to increase student attendance. The few methods of increasing attendance that have been examined have focused on manipulating social or academic contingencies. For example, Noonan and Thibeault (1974) assigned "reinforcing agents" (i.e., peers) to students identified as chronic absentees in a high school in Kentucky. The reinforcing agents delivered social praise contingent on attendance in class and statements of concern / disapproval contingent on absences. The results showed an increase in attendance when the program was in place.

Quizzes have also been examined for use in increasing student attendance. Hovell, Williams, and Semb (1979) examined the effects of three different quiz contingencies that varied in terms of the number of quizzes and exams that students took during the semester. Each quiz contingency was implemented in a separate undergraduate psychology course. The authors found that student attendance hovered around 90% for class meetings with a quiz and around 55% for non-quiz meetings across the courses. They concluded that grade-related contingencies maintained high overall attendance.

Although these methods have been shown to be effective in increasing or maintaining student attendance, they involve a situation in which students must either avoid a potentially aversive event (e.g., social disapproval, missed quiz points) by attending class or are confronted with one of these potentially aversive events contingent upon absences. In other words, student attendance may be at least in part maintained by negative reinforcement and student absences may be reduced via punishment with these systems. An alternative approach is to use positive reinforcement to increase and / or maintain student attendance. Although one published study (Beaulieu, 1984) compared the effects of different rewards on student attendance, a baseline or a control group was not employed. Thus, the extent to which the various rewards improved attendance is unknown. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate a positive reinforcement-based approach to increasing student attendance by examining the effect of random extra-credit quizzes on student attendance in a college course.

Method

Participants and Setting

Participants included 32 students in a psychology of learning course at a private comprehensive university in the western United States. Ninety-four percent of the students were psychology majors. Approximately 13% of the students were sophomores, 53% were juniors, and 34% were seniors. The class met three times per week except during holiday periods. Attendance on exam days (which were scheduled for every other Friday) is not included in the data. The experiment was conducted during 12 weeks of the 16-week semester. It was not conducted during the first 3 weeks because a number of students were adding and dropping the course. The experiment was also not conducted during the last week of the semester due to final exams. The lecture format of the course remained constant throughout the semester.

Dependent Measure and Interobserver Agreement

The dependent variable in the study was the percentage of students in attendance at each class meeting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Use of Random Extra Credit Quizzes to Increase Student Attendance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.