Essay: Maintaining academic performance

Maintaining academic performance can be challenging task for students. Apart from the effort that students put in academic, sleep and class attendance are believed to have impact on student’s academic performance. Consequently, some studies have been done to verify this assumption. In these studies, class attendance can be considered as the frequency of a student goes to classes being offered by the course. Academic performance is generally refers to the grades that students obtained in the course. However, the impact of sleep on academic performance has been found to be various on different aspects. Totterdell, Reynolds, Parkinson, and Brinor (1994) suggested to differentiate sleep by sleep quality and sleep duration as both of them might have different influences on academic performance. In addition, Eliasson, Lettieri, and Eliasson (2009) had compared the influence of the sleep cycle to the influence of the sleep duration on academic performance.
Gunn (1993) conducted a research that involved 103 first-year psychology students at Larrentian University, Ontario during 1989-1990 academic year. The first-year psychology course included lectures, laboratories, and demonstrations. A positive relationship between attendance and grades was found in the research. Similar outcome revealed in a study of Thatcher, Fridjhon, and Cockcroft (2007). Both studies used correlational analysis, but the latter used Bonferroni post-hoc test to perform the result as well.
However, there is an uncertainty in how attendance benefits academic performance (Thatcher et al., 2007). One of the reasons that attendance leads to high academic performance might be tips for obtaining high score in exam might be given during classes. According to Randel, Main, Seymour, and Morris (1992), test strategy leads to high grade in exam. Besides, students with different cognitive learning style may be given more opportunities to improve their performance by attending classes. For example, graphs, pictures, charts, and other visual objects which is presented by lecturers during classes help students with visual learning style. Students with auditory learning style absorb more knowledge through listening to lecturers. Meanwhile, hands-on approach activities that have been done in classes improve academic performance of students with kinesthetic learning style. One’s academic performance can be boost if choose the right way to learn.
Based on these studies, attendance seems to have a positive relationship with attendance. However, Devadoss and Foltz (1996) discovered that other relevant factors may affect academic performance and attendance rate. These factors comprise lecturers’ teaching method, competency (Park & Kerr, 1990), prior knowledge (Federici & Schuerger, 1976), and encouragement (Durden & Ellis, 1995; St Clair, 1999). Gunn (1997) proposed that high performers might study more heavily and attend more frequently, so there is a doubt whether studying or attending have the major impact on academic performance. In order to clarify the impact of class attendance on academic performance, further investigation on the relationship between attendance and other issues that might affect academic result is needed.
As mentioned above, sleep may affect academic one’s academic performance as well. To examine the correlation between sleep duration, quality of sleep, concentration and school functioning, Meijer, Habekoth??, and Van Den Wittenboer (2000) asked 449 Dutch children in the seventh and eighth grades of elementary school whose age varied between 9 years 5 months and 14 years 5 months to fill up questionnaires containing questions about children’s sleep behavior. In the study, sleep duration and sleep quality show no relationship with concentration. No direct relationship between sleep duration and school functioning of children revealed as well.
However, sleep quality, feeling rested at school, and regular sleep timing were found to have positive relationship with school functioning.
Eliasson, Lettieri, and Eliasson (2010) carried on a similar study among college students whose age varied from 17 years to 69 years as well. According to Eliasson et al. (2010), gender, ethnicity, study duration, staying up late, having caffeinated drink, having nonprescription
stimulant medicine or having prescription stimulation has no direct relationship with academic performance. The circadian rhythm was assumed to have more impact on academic performance than sleep duration do as high performers was discovered to sleep and awakened earlier on average compared to low performers. Plus, high performers was found to take nap more than low performers.
Based on these studies, sleep duration seems to have less effect on academic performance. Circadian rhythm, regular sleep timing, feeling rested at school, and quality of sleep result in contributing to academic performance. Prediction about circadian rhythm and regular sleep timing contribute to good health, hence results in high academic performance can be made. Future study is desirable to examine the importance of health level to academic performance. Feeling rested at school might be one of the major impact on academic performance. There is numerous factors that diminish the level of students to be feeling rested at school. For instance, peer pressure, interpersonal problem, domestic problem, and financial problem. According to Dahl (1996), poor sleep quality may leads to emotional problems. Further investigation should be conducted to find out whether the emotional problems or the quality of sleep have more effect on academic performance. Also, Meijer et al. (2000) found that good sleep quality leads to motivated life.

According to Randel et al. (1992), motivation contributes in academic performance. Future
exploration is needed to identify whether motivation or the sleep quality have the major influence on academic performance. The crucial action need to be taken is to find out the factors that affect the level of students to be feeling rested at school or the quality of sleep as this may help to improve one’s academic performance.

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