Seating Location in Large Lectures: Are Seating Preferences or Location Related to Course Performance?
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.
Volume (Year): 35 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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