Purpose: The necessity to attend classroom lectures is a disputable topic among dental schools globally. Since there is an ongoing debate on different aspects of this problem in literature, the purpose of this study was to compare students’ attitudes toward classroom attendance and investigate if stricter attendance tracking methods could lead to better classroom attendance at two dental schools utilising different modes of tracking students’ attendance. Method: This was an observational, cross-sectional survey distributed among dental students enrolled at King Abdul-Aziz University (KAU) and King Saud University (KSU) in Saudi Arabia. The survey included questions on demographics, average travel time, student's attitudes toward classroom lectures and common reasons for absenteeism. Collected data were analysed and summarised as frequencies and percentages and then compared using the Chi-square test for statistical significance. 

Findings: The study involved 678 participants from KAU and 475 participants from KSU. In general, there was a significant difference in students’ attendance between both schools in which 26.8% of KAU dental students skipped 5 or more lectures/month compared to 11.5% of students at KSU. Among the factors affecting classroom lecture attendance, commuting time was a major one reported by students (44.8% of students at KSU and 51.4% at KAU needed 30-60 min to reach their schools). The availability of lectures through online resources and the necessity to study for exams were additional factors reported by students of both schools. Implications for research and practices: Based on the current data, the school’s method to track students’ attendance may have a role in the pattern of classroom absenteeism.

Author Biographies

Hani Mawardi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah

Associate Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences,  Faculty of Dentistry

Waad Alharbi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah

General dentist,  Faculty of Dentistry

Waleed Alamoudi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah

Lecturer, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry; Resident, University of Pennsylvania – School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Osama Felemban, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry,  Faculty of Dentistry, Saudi Arabia

Soulafa Almazrooa, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah

Associate Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences,  Faculty of Dentistry, Jeddah

Emad Alhadlag, King Saud University, Riyadh

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences,  Faculty of Dentistry


Alghamdi A., Yamani А., Khalil A., Albarkati B., Alrehili O., Salih M. (2016). Prevalence, causes and impacts of absenteeism among medical students at UQU. Education, 6(1), 9-12. doi:10.5923/

Alhabi, O., Abukhelaif, A., Dokhaikh, F., Alghamdi, A., Al Ghamdi, M., & Balkheir, M. . (2017). Absenteeism and Lateness among Saudi Medical Students at Albaha University, Saudi Arabia: An observational Study. Journal of Research & Method in Education, 7(6), 38-41. doi: 10.9790/7388-0706053841

Azab, E., Saksena, Y., Alghanem, T., Midle, J.B., Molgaard, K., Albright, S., Karimbux, N. (2016). Relationship Among Dental Students' Class Lecture Attendance, Use of Online Resources, and Performance. J Dent Educ, 80(4),452-8. doi: 10.1002/j.0022-0337.2016.80.4.tb06103.x

Cook, D. A. (2005). The research we still are not doing: an agenda for the study of computer-based learning. Acad Med, 80(6), 541-548. doi:10.1097/00001888-200506000-00005

Credé, M., Roch, S., & Kieszczynka, U. (2010). Class Attendance in College. Review Of Educational Research, 80(2), 2772-2295. doi: 10.3102/0034654310362998

Davis, E. A., Hodgson, Y., & Macaulay, J. O. (2012). Engagement of students with lectures in biochemistry and pharmacology. Biochem Mol Biol Educ, 40(5), 300-309. doi:10.1002/bmb.20627

Demir, E. A., Tutuk, O., Dogan, H., Egeli, D., & Tumer, C. (2017). Lecture attendance improves success in medical physiology. Adv Physiol Educ, 41(4), 599-603. doi:10.1152/advan.00119.2017

Desalegn, A. A., Berhan, A., & Berhan, Y. (2014). Absenteeism among medical and health science undergraduate students at Hawassa University, Ethiopia. BMC Med Educ, 14, 81. doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-81

Hidayat, L., Vansal S., Kim, E., Sullivan, M. & Salbu, R. (2012). Pharmacy Student Absenteeism and Academic Performance. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76 (1) 8. doi:10.5688/ajpe7618

Keppens, G., Spruyt, B., & Dockx, J. (2019). Measuring School Absenteeism: Administrative Attendance Data Collected by Schools Differ From Self-Reports in Systematic Ways. Front Psychol, 10, 2623. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02623

Massingham P, H. T. (2006). Does attendance matter? An examination of student attitudes, participation, performance and attendance. J Univ Teach Learn Pract., 3(2), 83-103.

Meng, L., Hua, F., & Bian, Z. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Emerging and Future Challenges for Dental and Oral Medicine. J Dent Res, 99(5), 481-487. doi:10.1177/0022034520914246

Moore, S., Armstrong, C., & Pearson, J. (2008). Lecture absenteeism among students in higher education: a valuable route to understanding student motivation. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 30(1), 15-24. doi:10.1080/13600800701457848

Quinn, B., Field, J., Gorter, R., Akota, I., Manzanares, M. C., Paganelli, C., . . . Tubert-Jeannin, S. (2020). COVID-19: The immediate response of european academic dental institutions and future implications for dental education. Eur J Dent Educ. doi:10.1111/eje.12542

Schnee, D., Ward, T., Philips, E., Torkos, S., Mullakary, J., Tataronis, G., & Felix-Getzik, E. (2019). Effect of Live Attendance and Video Capture Viewing on Student Examination Performance. Am J Pharm Educ, 83(6), 6897. doi:10.5688/ajpe6897

Stewart, M., Stott, T., & Nuttall, A.-M. (2011). Student Engagement Patterns over the Duration of Level 1 and Level 3 Geography Modules: Influences on Student Attendance, Performance and Use of Online Resources. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(1), 47-65. doi:10.1080/03098265.2010.498880

Subramaniam, B., Hande, S., & Komattil, R. (2013). Attendance and achievement in medicine: investigating the impact of attendance policies on academic performance of medical students. Ann Med Health Sci Res, 3(2), 202-205. doi:10.4103/2141-9248.113662

von Elm, E., Altman, D. G., Egger, M., Pocock, S. J., Gotzsche, P. C., Vandenbroucke, J. P., & Initiative, S. (2008). The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. J Clin Epidemiol, 61(4), 344-349. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2007.11.008




How to Cite

Mawardi, H., Alharbi, W., Alamoudi, W., Felemban, O., Almazrooa, S., & Alhadlag, E. (2021). DOES DENTAL STUDENTS’ ATTENDANCE IN CLASSROOM LECTURES DEPEND ON THE MODE OF ATTENDANCE TRACKING? . Advanced Education, 8(18), 70–78.