Study of Factors Affecting Students’ Performance in three Science Classes: General Biology, Botany, and Microbiology at Fayetteville State University
Several studies have reported the effects of class time on overall students’ performances, but there are just few on the influence of factors as absences, gender, class section, class difficulty or semester. The objectives of this study were to an- alyze the effects of the above mentioned factors (absences, class time, gender, class difficulty and semester) on college students’ performance in three science classes: Principles of Biology (BIOL 150), General Botany (BOTN 210), and Micro- biology & Immunology (BIOL 330) over a period of 3 years. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for absences showed signifi- cant differences for the number of those between the differ- ent semesters (fall, spring, and summer) and that students tend to miss more classes (P>0.05) during fall and spring than summer semesters. Gender (P>0.3515) and class sec- tion (P>0.0608) do not seem to significantly affect the aver- age grades in general biology and microbiology. Regarding gender, significant differences were observed in BOTN 210 between females and males average grades. Females tend to do better than males at least in this class. There was a moderate but strongly significant negative correlation (-0.59, P>0.0001***) between the average grades and the number of absences in almost all classes. ANOVA also showed sig- nificant differences for the average grades between the differ- ent class times at P>0.0020*. The Tukey-Kramer test revealed that students perform better in morning classes compared to afternoon classes. The class time plays a significant role in the number of absences as well. Analysis showed that the most “convenient” time for students is late morning or after noon given that they tend to result in fewer absences. In ad- dition, students tend to receive better grades in BOTN 210 that they do in BIOL 330 and BIOL 150 (Means 77.33, 69.42, and 67.82, respectively) which can be justified by the fact that the latter two are more intense than the first. Overall, absences are the only factor among those studied (absences, gender, class section, class difficulty and semester) that seem to affect student’s grades negatively in all three classes (BIOL 150, BOTN 210 and BIOL 330). Typically, factors such as gen- der, and class section do not have any effect on students’ performance. Results for class time show that students may perform better in morning or evening classes. In other cases time does not play any significant role to efficiency.