Late to Rise Seems to Make Students Wise

CAROL’S SUMMARY: The study “Course Scheduling and Academic Performance” by Angela K. Dills, an assistant professor of economics at Mercer University, and Rey Hernández-Julián, an assistant professor of economics at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, found a small increase in grades of students taking afternoon classes rather than early morning classes.

The most likely explanation is that teenagers tend to stay up late, therefore, to get their full amount of rest and be adequately awake, they need to get up later in the day than adults.

Questions to consider:
1. What time of day do you feel most productive?
2. What time of day do you feel least productive?
3. Why do you think that is?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Copyright © 2008 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

When college students refuse to sign up for early-morning classes, parents and faculty members sometimes give them sermons or stale quotations from Benjamin Franklin. But those students might actually have the right instincts, says a new study by two economists.

The study, whose results appear in the December issue of the Economics of Education Review, found that students earn higher grades in courses that are offered later in the day. The effect is small but unmistakable: For each hour after 8 a.m. that a class begins, students’ average grades are 0.024 points higher, on a 4-point grading scale.

The most likely reason, the authors say, is sheer exhaustion. Nineteen-year-olds find plenty of reasons not to go to bed before midnight. And even when they get adequate sleep, adolescents’ brains tend to fire up later in the morning than adults’ brains.

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