Order of classes affects students’ performance

By Carolyn Perlmutter | Assistant News Editor

Students’ performance at school can vary depending on the order in which they have their classes. This is because some students have different optimal times during the day in which they learn best.

“Generally, I am more awake and attentive in the morning; however, I have a good attention span so I do not think it makes that much of a difference,” sophomore Rebecca Francis said.

Although some students feel more awake in the morning, others find it hard to concentrate due to sleep deprivation.

“I function the worst during second-period math,” sophomore Sophie Kellner said. “I am just so tired in the morning. I function the best before and after lunch, so during third, fourth, and fifth period.”

“During this time period I am awake and reenergized with food,” Sophie added.

Studies have shown that people have different times of day when they learn best.

In a study by P.K. Lynch, when students learned at their preferred learning time, they were less likely to be truant, their rate of achievement increased, and they received better grades. Ninety-eight percent of students scored higher on standardized tests when they learned during their optimal time-of-day.

Class schedules should be matched to meet learning requirements of more students.

In North Carolina, after determining students’ time-of-day preferences, administrators adjusted schedules so that more academically challenging subjects were given at times when the majority of students said they were most alert.

Researcher Angela Klavas found that there was a vast improvement in student behavior and that test scores gradually improved as well.

“I think my seventh period always struggles,” history teacher Ryan Quirk said. “My classes’ liveliness completely wanes as time goes on. Towards the end of the day a lot of students decline because they are tired and worn out.”

Taking classes online at home may help those who do learn better in the late afternoon or evening.

In the Lynch study, preferred learning time was a bigger factor than which teacher the student was assigned.

“I do not think my performance as a teacher changes throughout the day,” Mr. Quirk said. “I give all the kids my best effort.”

There are other factors to consider besides time-of-day preferences.

“Having core classes in a row, I get so tired and bored of learning,” Sophie said.

The ideal situation would be to have two core classes, a break, then two more core classes and another break.

“I have band first period and choir fifth, and that breaks up my day and gives me a bit of a break to do something other than work, so I am usually sort of refreshed before diving into constant core studies,” Rebecca said.

Students in afternoon classes may have the opportunity to benefit from information given to them by other students who take the same class, but at an earlier time.

Categories: Features

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: