Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Effects and Predictor Value of In-Class Texting Behavior on Final Course Grades

Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Effects and Predictor Value of In-Class Texting Behavior on Final Course Grades

Article excerpt

Cell phones have become a norm within the collegiate environment but little research has examined their impact on academic attainment. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects that in-class texting behavior had on the final grade score in a freshmen level introductory social science course. Students in three different sections were given three different texting policies to elicit a variety of in-class texting behaviors. Students were given after-course-surveys examining in class texting behaviors. Final exam scores and texting behaviors were subjected to a Pearson's correlation as well as a regression analysis. Students GPA as well as ACT scores were also examined in the regression analysis. The study showed there was a negative correlation in the relationship between in-class texting and final grade score. In-class texting was significant in negatively impacting grades after GPA, ACT, and attendance were controlled. While GPA and ACT were still the strongest predictor values, in-class texting behavior still contributed to 22% of the predictor value in final grade.


As technology and information expands, so does their use. Cell phones are quickly becoming one of the most used communications technologies in our culture with over 94% of college students using cell phones (Burns & Lohenry, 2010). Cell phones have begun to permeate every facet of the personal, professional, and academic world. Understanding that cell phones have become a norm within the collegiate environment, it is important to examine the academic implications of cell phone usage within the college classroom and their impact on academic attainment. Educational attainment is an important understudy due not only to the many stakeholders (families, individuals, institutions) but to society as a whole (lenders, economy, service). This study examined the effects of in-class cell phone texting on final grades in a freshmen level introductory social science course.

College Academic Attainment

A significant amount of literature exists that uses standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT as predictors of successful academic attainment as measured by college grades (Munday, 1970; Betts & Morell, 1999; Stumph & Stanley, 2002; Cohn, et al., 2003; Cornwell, et al., 2005; Grove, et al., 2006). Munday (1970) explained that correlation of the ACT plus high school GPA showed to be strong predictors of the GPA of college freshmen. Berry and Sackett (2009) argued that if college GPA is the criteria used for academic performance, standardized entrance exam (SAT and ACT) scores as well as high school GPAs are the best predictors. By using SAT scores as well as entering course GPAs, researchers have presented impressive criterion related validity to account for more than half of the variance in college grades in freshmen level courses. Berry and Sackett's (2009) use of both SAT or ACT scores and high school GPA are strong predictors for freshmen level courses.

A strong third predictive factor shown throughout the literature is class attendance (Jenne, 1973; Launius, 1997; Moore, 2003; Moore, et al, 2003; Newman-Ford, Fitzgibbon, Lloyd, & Thomas, 1999). Crede, Roch and Kieszczynka (2010) conducted a meta-analysis examining the relationship between college class attendance and grades. The research showed that class attendance was positively correlated to grades of individual classes as well as overall GPA in college. Moreover, Crede, Roch and Kieszczynka (2010) argued that class attendance was the strongest predictive factor of academic performance including both cognitive (ACT scores, high school GPA) and non-cognitive measures (self-efficacy, study habits, etc.). Crede and Kuncel (2008) presented a meta-analytic review which highlighted that non-cognitive measures, such as study skills and study habits, were almost as predictable as those within the cognitive realm. However, Crede, Roch and Kieszczynka (2010) maintained that classroom attendance should be mandatory as it reflects the strongest predictor for final individual course grades as well as overall college GPA. …

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