Claire O’Donnell


St Maurice's High School

  • Time of Day

Does the time of day have an impact on the learning and achievement of pupils?


The Rationale of this Enquiry is to discover whether the time of day students visit the mathematics classroom has an effect on their overall ability and attainment. It is easily observable within the classroom that a particular class, can perform and behave differently at different times of the day, therefore I wish to investigate how individual pupils attainment can vary across the times they come to the mathematics classroom.

An experiment by Virostko (1983) tailored pupils’ timetables to offer one particular subject at their chosen favourite time of day, and a different subject at their non-preferred time. At the end of the first year, Virostko found that children achieved higher grades in the subject that matched their chosen time as opposed to the subject that did not match their preferred time. Ammons (1995) conducted similar research which shows a correlation between a student’s alertness and attentiveness and how this was impacted by their preference for a particular time of day. Ammons describes a significant increase in pupil attainment based upon conducting a test at their specified preference time. In particular the research found that summative testing at what a pupil regarded as their peak time was beneficial especially for academic based subjects, such as mathematics and physics, as this raised attainment.

Folkard (1977) discovered that short- and long-term memory varied significantly with the time of day information was being taken on board, therefore does it have an impact which subject is taught at which time of day?


For the purpose of this research project data will be collected and analysed in order to answer the following questions:

  • Does the time of the lesson impact pupils’ ability?
  • If pupils have a preferred time of day, do they perform better at this time?
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