Association between attendance and overall academic performance on a module within a professional pharmacy degree

Nigel Irwin, Kathryn Burnett, Paul McCarron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: As the Higher Education (HE) classroom begins to adopt newer internet-based technologies, the relationship between attendance and performance needs to be re-evaluated, particularly for professional degree courses such as pharmacy. In the present study, we aimed to establish if an association exists between attendance at all timetabled classes and academic performance, in a Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT) module, as part of the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree course at Ulster. Educational activity and setting: Data on attendance, final examination and coursework performance were collected over two academic years (2013-14 and 2014-15) of the CPT module at Ulster. In total 67 students were analysed. The MPharm degree at Ulster University implements an attendance policy, both as a pastoral support tool and to reinforce the need for professional conduct as a pharmacist. Findings: Student (2013-14 and 2014-15, n=35 and 32; respectively) attendance on the module across both year groups was approximately 80%. We observed positive, and statistically significant, relationships between attendance and performance on the examination, and especially in the coursework elements of the module. Student failure (below 40%) in the final examination was linked to attendance below an 80% threshold in 9 out of 12 cases. Reasons for not attending class varied, but illness was unquestionably the most commonly cited extenuation. Discussion: Taken together, these data confirm a convincing association between student attendance and academic achievement.Summary: Our studies promote the use attendance monitoring policies for professional degree courses, such as pharmacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-401
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number3
Early online date8 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished online - 8 Dec 2017


  • Attendance policy
  • academic performance
  • absenteeism
  • internet-based technologies
  • pharmacy


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