As Achievement Sails the River of Time: The Role of Time Use Efficiency in Grade-Point-Average

Article excerpt

Abstract

Kelly (2002) theorized that time me efficiency would be associated with increased performance and achievement. To investigate this possibility among college students, 141 advanced undergraduates were administered the Time Use Efficiency Scale (TUES), a social desirability scale, and self-reported their overall college grade-point average (GPA). Social desirability did not significantly relate to the TUES or GPA. Higher TUES scores were significantly related to higher GPA. The results are discussed and directions for future research are offered.

In contemporary academic life, students are constantly faced with demands to accomplish tasks by specific deadlines. It is often assumed that students who do not complete their assignments on time earn poor grades. As such, the ability to use time efficiently would seem to be an important skill for students to develop. However, little empirical research has been conducted investigating academic performance and time use efficiency. Indeed, little research on time use efficiency exists in any form. Previous time-related research has examined instead other time-related traits such as time structure and time management (Bond & Feather, 1988; Macan, Shahani, Dipboye, & Phillips, 1990). However, while time structure and time management are related to time use efficiency, they are not necessarily interchangeable constructs (Kelly, 2003).

As a foundation for exploring time use efficiency, defined as making the best use of one's time, Kelly (2002) provided a theoretical framework for the construct which asserts that it includes three elements: (1) an awareness of time, (2) an awareness ofthat which fills time, and (3) having positive in-task work habits. To summarize, awareness of time indicates that individuals must be aware of time as it passes and use that awareness effectively. Awareness ofthat which fills time suggests that individuals are familiar with tasks which fill time and use that awareness to allot sufficient time to complete tasks. Finally, possessing positive in-task work habits include cognitive and behavioral tasks which facilitate the completion of tasks, such as time management behaviors, attention, and self-discipline.

While the theory holds some promise in explaining time use efficiency, as supported by correlations with theoretically related constructs (Kelly, 2003), aspects of the theory, especially outcomes, have remained largely untested. Kelly (2002) suggests that one outcome of time use efficiency is improved performance. Among students, it might be expected, then, that increased performance would also yield increased academic achievement (Woolfolk, 1993). Thus, based on Kelly's theory, it was hypothesized that individuals reporting greater time use efficiency would also report increased academic performance, as measured by grade-point average (GPA).

Method

Participants and Procedure

After obtaining informed consent, 141 students (111 females) enrolled in advanced (junior and senior level) undergraduate courses at a small public university in the southern United States were administered the self-report instruments described below. Totals do not always equal 141, however, because some data were missing. The average age of the sample was 24.3 (SD = 6.7). The majority of participants (80%) identified themselves as European American. Hypotheses of the study were not discussed until all participants had returned the questionnaires.

Instruments

Time Use Efficiency. Time use efficiency was measured using the seven-item Time Use Efficiency Scale (TUES; Kelly, 2003). The TUES was developed using an internal consistency approach whereby items from a larger, rationally developed pool were eliminated based on low item-total correlations. A sample item is: "I use my time efficiently." Participants responded to items using a 7-point Likert-type scale (1 = "strongly disagree" to 7 = "strongly agree"). …