Online test scores decline before holidays

Online Test Scores Decline Before Holidays, Says Knewton

Any teacher can probably tell you that with the usual holiday cheer also comes the holiday sugar rush and the holiday fidgets and the holiday reindeer-ate-my-homework excuse.

It’s no secret that students are distracted during the holiday season, but according to a report by one edtech company, Knewton, the holidays may have a significant negative effect on students’ online test scores.

Knewton is an adaptive learning company that curates free content for students, using their behavior and test results to serve up questions and lessons that will help them progress. This particular tool makes it ideal for analyzing large quantities of student test data outside of a classroom setting.

So, to get into the holiday season, Knewton studied the scores of 13,000 students to see if the holiday season really did have an effect on their performance.

The results will certainly have you saying, “Bah Humbug.” Knewton found that by the Friday before Winter Break, students were scoring up to 20 points lower than they would on an average week day. Yet, holidays aren’t the only festive occasions to have a negative effect on online test scores. In a previous report about “The Friday Effect,” Knewton uncovered that their online students fare worse on Fridays, too.

So what do we do, ban Christmas? And Thanksgiving? And Fridays?

That’s clearly not going to happen, but at the very least teachers—online and offline—can take this data in consideration when planning future exams around the holidays.

Read the full report by Knewton.

Hannah Nyren

Hannah Nyren

A Texan by birth but a Bostonian at heart, Hannah is an educational writer, AmeriCorps alum, and one-time StartupWeekend EDU (SWEDU) winning team member. She started her career at a Pearson-incubated edtech startup, but has since covered travel, food & culture, and even stonemasonry in addition to education.