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Seating Location in Large Lectures: Are Seating Preferences or Location Related to Course Performance?


  • Mary Ellen Benedict
  • John Hoag


Using data on individuals taking principles of economics courses in large lecture rooms, the authors investigate whether a student's seating preference is related to success in the classroom. They find that individuals who prefer to sit near the front of the room have a higher probability of receiving As, whereas those who prefer the back have a higher probability of receiving Ds and Fs. A preference for sitting in the back, regardless whether one did so, increased the probability of receiving a D or F by 23 percentage points. Students unable to sit in their preferred locations and forced forward tend to receive higher grades, despite their preferences for back seats. Seating preferences and final seat location may be separate factors affecting grade performance. How instructors should teach large lectures is unclear. Developing seating distribution that addresses learning needs may impose high opportunity costs on students who have reasons unrelated to learning for their seating choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Ellen Benedict & John Hoag, 2004. "Seating Location in Large Lectures: Are Seating Preferences or Location Related to Course Performance?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 215-231, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:35:y:2004:i:3:p:215-231
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.35.3.215-231

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    Cited by:

    1. William Bosshardt & Peter E. Kennedy, 2011. "Data Resources and Econometric Techniques," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 35 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Ann L. Owen, 2011. "Student Characteristics, Behavior, and Performance in Economics Classes," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 32 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Bergtold, Jason S. & Yeager, Elizabeth A. & Griffin, Terry W., 2016. "Academic, Demographic and Spatial Factors in the Classroom Affecting Student Performance in Principles of Agricultural Economics Courses," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235930, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Wayne A Grove x & Stephen Wu, 2011. "Factors Influencing Student Performance in Economics: Class and Instructor Characteristics," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 33 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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