Do diligent students perform better?
Unsurprisingly they do. Research conducted in Belgium has identified a positive correlation between study time and performance in assessment.
The research was conducted by Masui, Broeckmans, Doumen, Groenen and Molenberghs (2014) in the Faculty of Business Economics at Hasselt University, Belgium. It involved 168 participants (104 men and 64 women) across 14 courses. The results demonstrated that for the majority of courses, more study time resulted in higher grades, even after taking prior abilities, study delay, and gender into account. The authors claim that the findings demonstrate that students’ activities and effort matter and that university is not just a mechanism to sort students based on pre-entry characteristics.
However, the authors do recognise that their study focussed on characteristics that were present before the actual educational and learning processes started. They identify the need for further research looking at factors such as students’ experience of the learning environment and qualitative aspects of the actual learning process involved to further identify the significance of study time.
However, they conclude:
“In spite of these limitations, the present study showed that academic performance in higher education is not predetermined by ‘traits’. It is influenced to a large degree by at least one controllable variable, i.e. study time. This, in turn, may be stimulated by increasing the directivity of self-study assignments. In sum, a well-designed learning environment may make a difference.”
Chris Masui, Jan Broeckmans, Sarah Doumen, Anne Groenen & Geert
Molenberghs (2014) Do diligent students perform better? Complex relations between student and
course characteristics, study time, and academic performance in higher education, Studies in
Higher Education, 39:4, 621-643,