Marco Piovesan publishes in PNAS – Københavns Universitet

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22. februar 2016

Marco Piovesan publishes in PNAS

Test Scores Drop as the School Day Drags on: each hour that passes before starting a test drags scores down by a little bit, meaning students who take a test late in the day will perform noticeably worse. This is the conclusion of a study co-authored by Hans Henrik Sivertsen,  Francesca Gino, and Marco Piovesan and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Using test data for all children attending Danish public schools between school years 2009/10 and 2012/13, we examine how the time of the test affects performance. Test time is determined by the weekly class schedule and computer availability at the school. We find that, for every hour later in the day, test performance decreases by 0.9% of an SD (95% CI, 0.7–1.0%). However, a 20- to 30-minute break improves average test performance by 1.7% of an SD (95% CI, 1.2–2.2%). These findings have two important policy implications: First, cognitive fatigue should be taken into consideration when deciding on the length of the school day and the frequency and duration of breaks throughout the day. Second, school accountability systems should control for the influence of external factors on test scores.