The Effect of Multitasking on the Grade Performance of Business Students
Research in Higher Education Journal, Vol. 8, 2010
Posted: 25 Apr 2010
Date Written: April, 24 2010
The growth and expansion of communication technology have created a multitasking generation of students who believe they are utilizing time more effectively by performing two or more tasks simultaneously. Multitasking refers to the concurrent processing of two or more tasks through a process of context switching. However, research by neuroscientists show that multitasking reduces the brain’s ability to effectively retrieve information. The purpose of this study is to empirically examine whether multitasking in class affects the grade performance of business students. We conducted an experiment using 62 undergraduate business students enrolled in the first accounting principles course at a university in the Southeastern part of the United States. The students participated in a class lecture and afterwards were given a quiz covering the lecture content. One-half of the participants were allowed to multitask in the form of texting during a class lecture, while the other half of the participants were not. Our findings indicate that the exam scores of students who text in class are significantly lower than the exam scores of students who do not text in class. Thus, multitasking during class is considered a distraction that is likely to result in lower grade performance. The implications of this study can be very useful to students, instructors, administrators, and other academic stakeholders, about the effect of multitasking in a learning environment on students’ grade performance.
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