College Grades Low? Try a Different Seat in the Classroom

Students headed off to college will soon be spending many hours in cavernous lecture halls, and new research suggests that where they sit may help predict their final grade.

British researchers examined students’ reasons for choosing certain seats during a lecture and found that many preferred sitting with their friends. Others wanted to either attract or avoid the lecturer’s attention.

Some selected seats that enabled them to see and hear the lecturer clearly, while others favored seats that made them less anxious because they could easily leave them, the researchers found.

Groups of friends who sat together tended to get similar grades, the findings showed. And students who sat alone at the edges tended to have lower-than-average grades.

But the study only found an association and could not prove cause and effect.

Still, these findings could be used by lecturers to help anxious students and to encourage interaction between students, according to the study authors.

The report was published online Aug. 21 in FEBS Open Bio.

“Interaction is a key part of learning and knowing who the students are interacting with can be a great benefit when designing activities,” lead author David Smith, from Sheffield Hallam University, in England, said in a journal news release.


More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers college health and safety tips.

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