Friday, April 15, 2016
Having a morning instead of afternoon math or English class increases a student’s GPA, especially math
Increasing the efficiency of the school system is a primary focus of policymakers. This study analyzes how the time of day affects students’ productivity and if efficiency gains can be obtained by rearranging the order of tasks they perform throughout the school day.
Using a panel data set of nearly 2 million sixth- through eleventh-grade students in Los Angeles County, the author performs within-teacher, class type, and student estimation of the time-of-day effect on students’ learning as measured by GPA and state test scores.
The study finds that students learn more in the morning than later in the school day. Having a morning instead of afternoon math or English class increases a student’s GPA by 0.072 (0.006) and 0.032 (0.006), respectively. A morning math class increases state test scores by an amount equivalent to increasing teacher quality by one-fourth standard deviation or half of the gender gap. Rearranging school schedules can lead to increased academic performance.