Category Archives: Academic Performance

Study: In-Class Use of Cell Phones, Laptops Lowers Test Scores


In the age of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, we’ve mastered the art of multitasking — right?

Unfortunately, a new study suggests otherwise and includes some sobering findings for students.

According to research recently published in Educational Psychology, students who use electronic devices during class lectures have a harder time recalling what they learned in the long-term.

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Low-Income Families Play a Powerful Role in the Success of Their Students


Financial assistance is crucial to the academic success of low-income college students, but according to new research, family support may be even more influential.

A study published recently in Research in Higher Education showed that students with a strong familial cheering section did better at navigating college life and classes.

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Stop the Spread of Math Anxiety


Educators have long-known that math anxiety can affect student performance, but the underlying source of that apprehension may surprise you.

“Math anxiety can develop in the very early grades, often because of the negative messages about math that children pick up from the adults in their lives,” according to Karyn Lewis, a senior researcher at Education Northwest. “…Research shows that teachers unintentionally transmit their own attitudes about math to their students. This means teachers who have math anxiety can pass it on to their students, which can impact students’ math performance.”

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Engagement Key to Retaining Non-Traditional College Students


Determining which returning adult students are at risk of dropping out of college is a complex process, according to results from a recent national survey.

Common data points — such as demographics, choice of major, and hours devoted to studying — can’t reliably predict whether a nontraditional student will struggle to complete their degree.

As it turns out, the most dependable factor for identifying at-risk non-traditional students is the extent to which they make effective connections to their college, a factor that can be difficult to measure. After all, the very students who are most in danger of dropping out often have limited contact with professors, peers, and college staff, according to a recent report from Barnes & Noble College Insights — a division of the bookseller that produces quantitative and qualitative research related to higher education.

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Study: Economic Factors Influence College Graduation Rates


Money talks. It’s an old adage, but it rings true even when it comes to college graduation rates.

A new study from Oregon State University found that both the socioeconomic status of a college’s student body and the school’s own revenue and expenditures are significant predictors in whether first-time students will complete their degree and graduate within six years.

Researchers focused solely on four-year broad access institutions, which are colleges and universities that accept 80 percent or more of their applicants.

“For those students, resources really matter, in a way that is different from the population as a whole,” Gloria Crisp, the study’s lead author, said. “That finding is consistent with the persistent inequities in college completion rates for these underserved populations.”

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Study: Sleep Patterns Affect Academic Performance


Late night study sessions may seem like a good idea to students looking to boost their grades, but new research suggests sticking with a consistent sleep schedule may be a better long-term strategy.

The study, published earlier this month by Scientific Reports, found that college students who did not go to bed and wake up at similar times each day were more likely to have lower GPAs.

Irregular sleep patterns upend students’ natural body clocks and can leave them feeling jet-lagged, a condition that ultimately undermines their performance in the classroom, Dr. Charles Czeisler, one of the study’s authors, told CNN.

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‘Math Identity’ Prepares Students for STEM Majors


Looking for ways to encourage more of your students to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering, or math?

Efforts need to go beyond college-prep coursework, according to a paper published in 2015.

Students who succeed in developing an identity as a “math person” are more likely than their peers to go on to study STEM subjects in college, data show.

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Data Dive: Addressing Stereotype Threat and the Achievement Gap


Background: Schools across the nation continue to grapple with the achievement gap, and the literature suggests that academic gaps between white children and their non-white counterparts grow as students make their way through school. Stereotype threat —  the sense of apprehension individuals feel when they are afraid their actions or parts of their identities will confirm a negative stereotype about the group to which they belong — is one factor social scientists believe contributes to the achievement gap.

The Study: A 2016 study by Geoffrey Borman, Jeffrey Grigg, and Paul Hanselman examined how one type of intervention, called self-affirmation, could offset the effects of stereotype threat. Exercises in self-affirmation offer students the chance to affirm their self-worth by thinking, writing, or speaking about the skills, values, or roles they view as important.

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Study: Grit as an Indicator of College Success


Underlying the college admission process is the principle that colleges should strive to accept the most academically talented students. What are the factors that best predict academic success in college?

Historically, postsecondary institutions have relied on quantitative indicators such as high school GPA and standardized test scores to assess a student’s academic potential, and with good reason—there is strong evidence linking these factors with academic performance in college. Yet such measures are neither foolproof, nor do they capture key non-cognitive characteristics, like motivation, enthusiasm, and maturity, which also impact academic outcomes.

A new study by Dr. Patrick Akos and Dr. Jen Kretchmar published in The Review of Higher Education examines the predictive power of one non-cognitive trait—grit. According to research by Dr. Angela Duckworth, grit is a construct encompassing two dimensions: consistency of interest and perseverance of effort. An example of a “gritty” student is one who is steadfast in pursuing long-term goals.

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