June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.1407.1 - 24.1407.11
You may be able to teach early classes, but students may not be awake yet!Academic success of first-year students is one of the primary concerns of highereducation institutes. A large number of research studies have investigated a variety offactors that influence first-year academic success such as demographics, high schoolperformance, family status, financial status, health status, social support, and individualbeliefs, abilities, and habits. A factor that may influence students’ success in a course andhas been ignored is the effect of time of class on students’ performance. Anecdotalevidence indicates students in early morning classes have lower performance comparedto other times of the day.Chronotype, an attribute of human beings, reflecting the time of the day their functionsare active or reach a certain level and its relationship to preferred time to wake up, study,etc., is well studied. Individuals vary from extremely early type to extremely late types.Existing research on chronotype shows that the majority of college students fall into latechronotypes. Thus, it would not be surprising to have low functioning students in earlymorning classes. The goal of this paper is to investigate the relationship between classtime and students’ performance in a course to verify this hypothesis.In this study, 1600 students’ course grades in a required two-credit first-year engineeringcourse in spring 2012 were analyzed. The students were enrolled in 15 sections run overfour days. Sections meet every two hours starting from 7:30 am and ending at 5:30 pm.While students are able choose their preferred sections, a number of constraints play arole in this selection (e.g., conflicts with other courses, preferred sections fill up veryquickly). The average of students’ final grades in each section was calculated as anindicator of students’ performance in the course. Students’ average grades in each sectionwere tested (using ANOVA and t-test) to identify the differences between sectionperformances among the 15 different sections.Results indicate that most of the 7:30 am sections have a significantly lower averagegrade compared to later sections. In addition, fewer students enrolled in the 7:30 amsections and more students dropped out of the course from these sections. Theperformance in the last class section on Friday afternoon (ending at 5:30 pm) showedsimilarly low student performance. This result illustrates an academic problem in students’performance in early morning and late Friday sections. Students in one of the earlymorning sections performed significantly better than the other ones, which might bepartially attributed to the instructor, who is known for a very engaging teaching style.While rescheduling the classes to eliminate early morning sections may not be possible,institutes can use strategies to reduce this affect, which will be discussed in the full paper.
Marbouti, F., & Diefes-Dux, H. A., & Strobel, J. (2014, June), You May be Able to Teach Early Classes, but Students May Not be Awake Yet! Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22797
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