The effect of seating assignments on student achievement in the biology classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


This study investigated the relationship between classroom seating arrangements, student motivation and achievement in the science classroom. Data were collected over 16 weeks. Students were placed in three different seating arrangements for three weeks each: self-chosen seats, randomly assigned seats, and teacher assigned seats. Each was repeated to make a total of six treatment periods. Students' attitudes and motivation to learn were measured by their attitude survey and interview responses. Multiple choice formative assessments were administered each day to measure each student's level of engagement and understanding of the daily learning objectives. Curriculum unit difficulty levels were calculated to ensure that no one treatment was significantly different than the next. The results showed that teacher chosen seating arrangements yielded better performances across the entire population. When investigating higher- and lower-performing students, the high performers accomplished significantly better results with the aid of teacher chosen seats, whereas the lower-performers showed no improvement with any seating method. The findings also revealed that, within my student interview group, there was significant improvement in all performance levels with the teacher chosen seats. These results indicate that well-developed communication between instructor and student helps to inform the teacher of necessary accommodations for each student. The results revealed that the most effective teaching days occurred during teacher chosen seating treatments where I was more able to control the classroom environment while experiencing the highest level of comfort.




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