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Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm or a Lower GPA? Evidence from a Liberal Arts College

Timothy Diette () and Manu Raghav ()

No 2016-01, Working Papers from DePauw University, Department of Economics and Management

Abstract: Colleges and universities with capacity constraints like to offer early morning classes to maximize the use of classrooms. Moreover, evenings are often reserved for extra-curricular activities. However, research from psychology has shown that a teenager’s mind benefits from additional sleep during early morning hours. We use data from a selective liberal arts college that assigns students randomly to different sections of the same course. This creates a natural experiment. Our paper shows that after controlling for other factors, students in early morning sections earn lower grades than students in sections of the same course offered later in the day. The result holds for all the courses offered at this institution. Grades are especially low for 8 am and 9 am classes for both genders, although the effect is larger for male students. This suggests that trade-offs exist between optimal use of classroom space and learning outcomes for students.

Keywords: Class time; grades; GPA; student learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I21 I23 A22 Z18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
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