The effect of time-on-task on student grades and grade expectations
The effects of students attitudes on time devoted to a course (i.e. time-on-task), and the subsequent effects of this time-on-task on their performance in the course and their overall grade point average (GPA) were studied. Over a three-year period, engineering students (<i>N</i> = 231) were surveyed in weeks one, three, seven (after midterms) and 10 (before finals) of a 10-week quarter in six sophomore and junior engineering classes (eight different sections). Results of this study show that most students are optimistic about their future performance in a new course, regardless of their previous overall GPA. All students appear to devote a relatively high and equal amount of time-on-task during the first week of the term. The students who earned grades between B+ and A appear to optimise this time by the third week. Students who earned a final grade of B study similar to A students before midterms but significantly increase their efforts after midterms while the C students decrease their time devoted to the course. This study finds that A students know they will earn an A as long as they do the work. In contrast, C students are resigned to the fact that they will earn a C and, thus, devote far less time to a course. The B students want better grades and will devote the most effort towards achieving these grades.