"D" is for dilly-dally?

By Associate Professors Arthur Caplan and John Gilbert of Utah State University, Department of Economics

Reprinted from Applied Economics Letters
(Copyright 2008, Taylor & Francis)

Using information from online graded assignments in an intermediate microeconomics course, we find that non-procrastinators (both early-starters and front-loaders) obtain higher scores than their dilly-dallying counterparts. We also find that while busier students tend to start their assignments earlier, they nevertheless back-load the bulk of their effort.

Aplia and Measures of Procrastination

Students were required at the beginning of the semester to purchase online access to Aplia in order to obtain their weekly practice and graded homework assignments. Practice assignments were optional, but highly recommended. Graded assignments were required. The assignments for each topic, beginning with budget constraints and ending with cost minimization, were automatically graded at the end of the week in which they were due. There were a total of nine graded assignments throughout the semester. Students were able to access the problems at any time, in any order, and as many times as they desired prior to the grading deadline. Aplia kept track of the date and time that a student first accessed each problem and then automatically graded the problems at the grading deadline. Students were subsequently provided with their scores and informational feedback on each question.

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