Is there any research/study/survey that looked at the class time in the day and week impacts the students' learning outcome? E.g. students often complain when class are too early in the morning, students on Monday might be more rested than on Friday, etc.; I wonder whether there exist any significant impact on how well students understand and remember the class materials.

  • 1
    It's hard to measure the effect of learning at a given time of day separately from the effect of a time preference (the latter was shown to have an effect on school achievement). You would need a scenario where students can't choose classes, which is not typical at the university level.
    – ff524
    Oct 24 '14 at 6:02
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    At least in Germany, many STEM bachelor programs have a pretty fixed schedule for the first year or so - you're free to make your own schedule but it usually doesn't make sense to do so. So I guess if faculty conspired to switch slots every year, you'd get a pretty good experiment. Trouble is, most other STEM departmens will kill you if you move CS 101 or Analysis 101 around, because their students need that and so they'd have to rotate their schedule, too. For advanced classes, other departments won't mind but it'll be down to time preferences again. Oct 26 '14 at 8:40
  • @ff524 schedules are normally tightly bound for 1st and 2nd year medical students so I assume studies may have been done for at least that subset of graduate/professional students.
    – Compass
    Oct 29 '14 at 18:30
  • I've never noticed it outside of Monday morning. Oct 29 '14 at 23:50

I came across the following study:

T McElroy, L Mosteller
The influence of circadian type, time of day and class difficulty on students' grades.

In the conclusions of the work, they mention that the students have a best performance if their optimal time-of-day (i.e., if they are monrningness type or eveniningness type) coincide with the class schedule. By contrast the classes that require less cognitive functioning are less sensitive to the advantage and disadvantage of optimal and non-optimal time-of-day.

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