Engagement of students with lectures in biochemistry and pharmacology.
The authors surveyed students to find out why they skipped classes at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The answers they give are not surprising, especially for the 8AM biochemistry lecture. However, the really interesting finding is that there's hardly any correlation between the number of lectures attended and a student's final grade in the course. The slight difference could easily be due to motivation and not ability to master the material.
Here's my take on the issue of skipping lectures. If the lecture doesn't provide any value in terms of your final grade then why waste time going to class? Why bother giving the lecture?
I'd like to see a study comparing attendance in a course that has adopted student-centered learning where the class time is devoted to explaining difficult concepts and helping students think critically. The exams and assignments would have to measure whether students have mastered the concepts and learned how to think critically about the subject. In an ideal course, a student shouldn't be able to pass if they've skipped most of the lectures. What would attendance look like in such a course?
If students are skipping your lectures and still getting good grades then it's time to change your course. If you can't, or won't, do that then just cancel the lectures. You could record them and put them online if it makes you feel better. Your students are clearly not getting anything of value from sitting in the classroom.