Objective: To determine whether there is a relation between lecture attendance and factual knowledge of obstetrics and gynecology, as measured by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) clinical science subject examination.
Methods: We analyzed data on 197 students completing 8-week obstetrics and gynecology rotations from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992. Each student was expected to attend a weekly lecture series, and each completed the NBME clinical science subject examination at the end of the clerkship. Student attendance and board scores were correlated at the end of the academic year overall and by subgroups. Scores in the top and bottom 15% were defined as good and poor performance, respectively.
Results: A negative correlation (r = -0.1738, P = .0146) was found between percent absence and examination score. The odds ratio for poor performance was 5.48 (95% confidence interval 1.3-26.5; P = .015) for the subgroup of students with more than 30% absence compared to those without absences. Odds ratios for scoring in the upper 15th percentile were not significant.
Conclusions: The negative correlation and the high odds ratio for poor performance suggest the value of monitoring attendance and identifying students at risk for poor performance (more than 30% absence). Lower absence rates did not predict performance.