Work Hard, Play Hard
by Sgass2 on April 14, 2014 - 10:13pm
Work Hard, Play Hard
When considering the regular practices of college students, performance in the classroom versus an active social life is often at the forefront. It is evident that students have trouble maintaining an avid social life while also succeeding in the classroom. Most students, including myself, take short cuts to avoid spending endless hours doing homework such as skimming, help from friends, or just not doing the work at all. However, we don’t always see the immediate or long term costs of taking the easy way out. For most students the question looms, are the endless hours spent studying really worth it?
The answer, according to a research team at Southern Connecticut State University, is questionable. The team approached this topic after analyzing the nature of college curriculums where it is evident that students don’t take the time to thoroughly read through assigned material. With this in mind, the researchers conducted a study in search of the correlation between online quiz scores and classroom exam scores (Anthis & Adams, 2012). The team, led by Liz Elliot from Cengage Learning, centered their study around a number of factors: online quiz scores; time spent on these assignments, number of attempts, and students SAT reading and math scores. To extract this information they formed four groups of students from an Intro to Psychology class at the college. From here, they assigned each of these groups different guidelines. The first group was given 20 pre and post-quiz questions with unlimited attempts and 20 minutes to complete the assignment, the next group was given 25 pre and post- quiz questions with 25 minutes to complete the assignment and only three attempts, the third group was given 20 pre and post- quiz question where only the posttest questions counted towards their grade with 30 minutes to complete the assignment, finally the fourth group was given 20 pre and post-quiz test questions with 75 minutes to complete the assignment. With these groups in place the students went to work, completing the assignments with no restrictions. This model allowed students to put forth the same effort they normally would rather than working harder because they knew they were part of a study. This leisure approach allows for the most unbiased, honest results. After completion of the assignments the results show there was a negative correlation between time spent on assignments and quiz grades. Likewise, it was proven that higher quiz grades resulted in higher test grades. With these parameters in place, the researchers conclude the most effective form of studying is in short, concise increments with limited attempts.
Being a first year college student this research caught my eye. I’ve seen my peers, and even myself, struggle to find a happy medium between social life and school work. As college classes become more and more demanding this balance is increasingly hard to maintain. Personally, being someone who takes my academics very seriously, I often catch myself spending hours upon hours on homework trying to retain entire chapters of information at once. Therefore, this study’s implications interested me discovering this wasn’t the most beneficial method of studying for academic success. The first implication shows professors should set concise time limits on quizzes for the best results. This surprised me because I typically feel stressed when put under time constraints and feel it hinders my performance. However, this study proves this stress and urgency helps grades rather than hurting them. Placing students in a test like structure outside of the class room allows them to retain the necessary material and practice for tests where similar time restraints will be in place. The next implication is that students need to be given a limited number of attempts on quizzes. With this in place, students are pushed to actually complete pre-class readings because there is an immediate consequence if they don’t. Given unlimited attempts students will often skip reading and guess until they get a correct answer, however, with limited attempts students are forced to delve into the books for academic success. Both these implications help to strengthen the result that better performance on quizzes coincides with success on in class exams. Finally, a third implication is that hard work and consistent effort is the key to academic success. This strengthens the idea that the more you put in, the more you get out. This simplistic dynamic is the elixir to success academically. If students take the allotted time to focus in on school, without distractions, their grades will reflect positively. With these implications in place, the team at Southern Connecticut State University proves academic success is a testament to consistency, time management, and hard work.
Anthis , K., & Adams, L. (2012). Scaffolding: Reltionships among online quiz parameters and classroom exam scores. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 39(4), 284-287.