Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Influence of Study Habits on Academic Performance of International College Students in Shanghai

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Influence of Study Habits on Academic Performance of International College Students in Shanghai

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study estimates the global validity of existing constructs and serves as the basis for the development of the Self-Reported Study Habits for International Students (SR-SHI) used to identify at-risk students in international programs. One-year classroom observations, recollection of study habits though interviews with high performing students show that they are mainly from low-context and individualistic countries while most low performing students come from high-context and collectivistic countries.

Among other aspects, high performing students give opinions based on reading material and class content, use the expression "I think", ask questions in class, are on time, ask for feedback regarding assignments, take notes in class and while studying, look for the professor after class, seat at the front of the classroom and attend every class, study in silence and alone at regular times along the whole semester, read the material about two weeks before the exam, review notes before the exam, talk about the content with other students. On the other hand, low performing students remind quite the whole semester, miss at least three classes per semester, are normally late, sit at the back of the classroom, don't take notes in class and never look for the professor after class-hours. It seems that specific training programs at the start and during the semester as well as training on cultural intelligence were identified are necessary.

Keywords: academic performance, high/low-context countries, high-performing students, low-context country, multicultural classroom, study habits.

1. Statement of Problem

Perhaps the greatest challenge of faculty teaching in multicultural classrooms in college is to devise teaching methodologies that help all students to learn and understand the subjects under discussion. This researcher sustains that all things being equal, what remains different in a multicultural classroom is the cultural background (and the implied habits) of students and teachers. Class observations and interview with high-performing students showed that most high and low performing students have some habits in common. Hence, it is considered important to know what habits college students have and, in case of low-performing students, which of those habits need to be changed in order to improve performance. The importance of improving habits lays in their relationship with attitudes, which are deemed important for achieving high academic performance.

A great deal of research provides evidence that study habits and study attitudes are both significant variables, which determine the academic performance of students. Yet, in spite of the perceived importance of study habits and study attitudes to academic achievement, it seems that education institution still pay little attention to understanding these factors (Baquiran, 2011).

Classroom observations show that under the same conditions, namely same professor, same subject, same teaching system, same administration, same enrollment criteria, same time of the day for an specific course and same education level, some students perform well while others do not. The question arises as to what are the aspects that influence this difference in performance, and what is the best way to arrange the study process of multicultural groups of college students, so that all learn and preform accordingly with schools' expectations.

2. Relevance

To the knowledge of the investigator, this is the first study regarding the effect of study habits on academic performance conducted with international students in Shanghai. Most studies up-to-date have been conducted in mono-cultural classrooms, where students and professors are from the same country, mainly in the west, with students in secondary and primary schools. Several of those studies are archival reviews of previous research. None of the previous studies, relevant to this investigation, found in the existing literature addresses the issue of the effect of study habits on academic performance from the perspective of multicultural classrooms in fully international programs (See subheading 3. …

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