Abstract This study aims to determine whether cramming behavior had a significant effect on the memory retention students who took Physics 82(Fundamental Physics II) during the second semester of school year 2006-2007. A test was given to these students after one semester (first semester, 2007-2008). A comparison was made between the scores of students who acknowledged frequent use of cramming methods and those that did not. Data shows that retention decreases with time whether the student crammed or not.

However, students that crammed have faster rate of decrease in memory retention. 1. Introduction Cramming is defined as studying a relatively large amount of subject matter in a short period of time. It can be regarded as a desperate measure of students to pass exams, complete projects. The consequence of such manner of study is low memory retention [1]. This study aims to confirm or disprove this stereotype. It is possible that grades reflect only short term learning since they are given at the end of the semester and there is no assurance for long term retention.

According to Duda, memory retention is enhanced if, for example, a five hour study session is broken down into five separate one hour sessions [1]. This applies to cramming where a single study session just before an examination is less effective than several short study sessions. A survey was conducted to verify these assumptions using UP Los Banos students who took Physics 82 during the second semester of school year 2006-2007. The survey was limited to these students who are currently enrolled in Physics 83 during the first semester of school year 2007-2008.

Physics 82 covers fundamental concepts in electricity and magnetism. This study aims to: 1. Determine whether there exists a correlation between the chronological order in which Physics 82 concepts were taught and the students’ memory retention of these concepts. 2. Determine the percentage of students who acknowledged to have employed cramming methods for their Physics 82 semester. 3. Determine whether there is a appreciable difference between students’ final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82 and their survey grade for both for the crammers and the non-crammers. 1. 1 Hypotheses.

1. There no strong positive linear correlation between the chronological order in which PHYS 82 concepts were taught the previous semester, and their memory retention of these concepts. Earlier topics taught are more retained than earlier topics. 2. There is no significant difference between crammers and non-crammers final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82, and between crammers and non-crammers survey score. Grade is not a good indicator of cramming behavior. 3. There is no strong linear correlation survey score and Physics 82 final grade for both crammers and non-crammers.

Grade is not a good indicator of memory retention. 4. There is no significant difference between the between the students’ final grade (1-5 scale) in Physics 82 and their survey grade both for the crammers and the non-crammers. Cramming has no significant effect on the student’s memory retention of Physics 82 concepts. 2. Methodology The survey population consisted of all Physics 83 students that took Physics 82 the previous Semester. The Survey was done in class hours of Phys83 to all students. The population needed was filtered out afterwards.

The survey questions included 16 topics in Physics 82 which were divided into 4 sets reflecting the first to the last quarter of the semester. Questions were generated for each topic. Five basic equations and two to four conceptual problems were taken from the topics. This was to ensure that the survey was representative of the whole Physics 82 semester. The questionnaire survey was divided into three parts, personal information, matching type and multiple choice. The first part consisted of personal information and also asked the students to rate themselves in a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 was the highest.

The information taken were the following: ofrequency of cramming in exams and/or projects: “I cram my study for the night before exams” ostudy routine: (1-2hrs), (monthly(1)…, weekly(5)) I do not study for quizzes/do assign ahead oPreparation time for exam(a night before(1)…, three weeks before(5) ) I review only near exam dates oStudents claim on good retention: “I forgot my Physics 82” oLikelihood of cramming in the future: “I expect myself to cram for the coming exams due to unavoidable circumstances.

” From these the students were then categorized to two sets as non-crammers (labeled as R), having less than 65% of total points in part I, and crammers (C) whose high score in part I acknowledge their use and likely future use of cramming methods. The percentage of students C and R in the population were then taken. The following comparisons were made: (1) between C and R Physics 82 final grade, (2) between C and R survey scores, and (3) between Physics 82 final grade and survey scores of all respondents.

In the second part, students were asked to match an equation with a concept. There were 20 equations and corresponding concepts. Each match was given 1 point. Examples of the questions were [2]: Column AColumn B 1. Coulomb’s Law 2. 1 Volt K. 1AmpCoul=1Joule/Coulomb Part 3 (multiple choice) consisted of 8 conceptual and 8 computational questions. The following are some examples: 1. Which of the following is false about electric potential? A. is the energy per unit charge B. is dependent of charge passing per unit time in a conductor.

C.it is a scalar quantity D. electric potential surfaces lines cross each other 2. Which of the following is true? I. An Ohmic Conductor has a linear Voltage and Current relationship. II. When Ohm’s Law is not obeyed the resistivity (? ) of a substance is constant in the equation E=? J (J is current density). A. I only B. II only C. Both I and II D Neither I and I 1. The intensity of light is Io=100 Watts 1 meter away from its source. What is its intensity if the distance is doubled? A) I=Io/4 B) I=Io/2 C) I=0 D) I=Io/8 E) none of the above.

2. In a DC R-L circuit, the current rises gradually to 5 ? A in 8? sec. What is the induced EMF of the 10H inductor? A) 6. 25V B) 0. 625V C) 6V D) 12. 5V E) none of the above Problem solving skills were also tested to gain insight on the student’s skills in operating some equations in part 2. Part 3 consisted of 16 items of 2 points each. The questions were structured so that 5 matching type items (Part 2), 2 conceptual and 2 computational multiple choice items (part3) represented each quarter of the Physics 82 semester.

It was ensured that all items in the four quarters are of comparable level of difficulty. In order to test the reliability of the survey, we repeated some problems in the questionnaire so as to infer whether the students focused on answering the survey or merely guessed the answers. The questionnaire had a total of 52 points, 20 points for part two and 32 points for part three. Each quarter has perfect score of 13 points. A correlation between the sequence of these quarters and average points per quarter was taken. 3. Results and Discussion.

All of the 48 Physics 82 students who are enrolled in Physics 83 took part in the survey. Simple statistical methods were employed since the survey involved the whole population. In part I, it was assessed that there were approximately 32. 56% crammers and 67. 44% non-crammers in the population. The mean of the final grades of non-crammers was 2. 36 while that of those who cram was 2. 42. Since the grading system is in a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the highest, the one with lower mean implies a higher grade. Those who cram tends to have a lower grade than those who do not cram.

This trend was also observed in the difference in the average of survey scores between the two categories where non-crammers had a 59. 41% average and crammers had a 55. 47%. The difference between the two averages was 3. 94%. These difference is not significantly observable in the 1-5 grading system; thus, inference in cramming behavior based on grades is not reliable. Figure 3. 1 Linear Regression of corresponding average survey score of students per quarter in the simulated exam to test natural degradation of retention through time. In figure 3. 1 the trend of score increase is shown with a correlation of 0.

566. This shows a natural degradation of memory retention through time since in the most recent quarter, 4th quarter, the average grade of the student in the simulated exam were higher than their average grade in the previous quarter. The average points of 1st & 2nd, and 3rd & 4th are then averaged in pairs that reflected first and second half the of the Physics 82 semester. Figure 3. 2 Average scores of students per quarter in the simulated exam. The average of the second half is 7. 802326 which is higher than that of the first half which is equal to 7. 476744.

This further justifies the degradation of memory of retention with time. Figure 3. 3 Linear correlation of Physics 82 final grade and survey score Figure 3. 3 shows the correlation between the survey score and the final grade of the students in physics 82 last semester. The negative correlation is due to the fact that 1 is the highest in the 1-5 scale Grading System. Students who got high grades in Physics 82 also got high scores in the survey. The correlation of -0. 62263 implies that the final grade of the students is a strong indicator of memory retention where a high grade likely implies high retention.

Table 3. 1 Mean difference and median difference between physics 82 final grade and survey grade CategoryMean DifferenceMedian Difference Crammer-0. 839-0. 5 Non-Crammer-0. 664-0. 25 Table 3. 1 shows the difference between physics 82 final grade and survey grade (1-5 grade system). The negative sign indicates that all the students have lesser survey grades compared to their final grade. There is a significant difference between the degradation of grade between crammers and non-crammers. The crammers’ grade decreased by 0. 839 while that of non-crammers’ decreased by 0.

664. The crammers significantly had less memory retention than those of the non-crammers. 4. Conclusion Memory retention undergoes degradation process through time. This degradation is further increased by cramming behavior. Memory retention has a natural degradation through time both for crammers and non-crammers. The earlier topics were less retained than the most recent topics. Cramming had a significant effect on the student’s memory retention of Physics 82 concepts. There was a strong linear correlation survey score and Physics 82 final grade as shown in figure 3.

3. Grade is a strong indicator of memory retention since it was shown that those who got higher grades had better performance in the simulated exam. Thus, students who obtained higher grades tend to have more concepts retained. Cramming was shown to contribute to memory loss. Crammers had a 0. 5 median drop in grade between Physics 82 final grade and survey grade whereas non-crammers had a median drop of 0. 25. The result of this study is consistent with Duda’s study which affirms the negative effect of cramming.

The structure of this study may be implemented on other subjects to further assess the effects of cramming behavior on memory retention and may involve other criterion on student academic performance. References [1]J Duda. Study shows test cramming has negative effects on grades. http://wc. arizona. edu/papers/94/91/01_2_m. html. Last modified on Feb 2, 2001. [2]H. D. Young and R. A. Freedman. University Physics: The Modern Physics, tenth edition. USA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 2000. [3]Statistics. Encyclopedia Britannica 2005 Deluxe Edition CD. USA, Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. 2005.