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Effect of Office Hour Participation on Student Performance

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael J. Schertzer, Risa Robinson, Timothy Landschoot, Amitabha Ghosh, Alexander Liberson, Edward Hensel, Jr.

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Paper No. IMECE2014-38242, pp. V005T05A027; 6 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4950-7
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Office hours are available for students to receive extra help outside of class. Unfortunately, this resource is often underutilized by students despite efforts to schedule convenient and accessible office hour times. Previous survey results from students attending a variety of courses in Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) have shown a positive correlation between low office hour attendance and the following factors: (i) high understanding of course material, (ii) procrastination and lack of time to seek help before deadlines, and (iii) low time studying materials outside of class. Interestingly, the results of this survey did not support the hypothesis that students who attended more office hours performed better.

A new homework grading policy was instituted in Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics I in the fall and spring semesters of the 2013 academic year at RIT. Under this policy, students were required to visit office hours to receive credit for completion of assigned weekly problems. Implementation of this policy has provided quantitative information regarding participation and timing of office hour visits. This investigation will examine the effects of attendance and timing of office hour participation on metrics of performance including final class grades and theoretical understanding as measured by performance on multiple choice test questions.

Results presented here suggest that the office hour grading system resulted in high participation rates across a broad range of students. Higher office hour participation rates had a positive impact on student performance in long answer exam problems and low impact on performance in multiple choice questions. While performance was a stronger function office participation at the of end of term than in week five, early semester participation rates can be used as a tool to help identify students at risk of dropping a class or receiving a poor grade.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Students



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