Sleeping Through Math Class

Venice_High_School_(Los_Angeles,_small)Labor Day, observed (celebrated; scheduled) on the first Monday of each September, is the unofficial beginning of the school year at many schools (see English Cafe 49). This year, Labor Day is next Monday, September 7th.

As high school students return to school, I can predict which high schools will have students with better grades and which high schools will have students with poorer grades.

No, I don’t have a crystal ball (glass ball used to see the future). Instead, I’ve read about research findings (results) showing that schools that begin later in the morning have students who typically perform better in their classes. One study of over 9,000 students in the U.S. found that students in schools that began at or after 8:35 a.m. earned grades that were significantly higher, so that a “B” or “C” grade became “B+” and “C+” grades.

Grades are used to calculate (give a numbered total for) a student’s grade point average (G.P.A.), which is a single number that indicates that student’s overall school performance. A student’s G.P.A. is used for many things, including college admissions (being allowed to study at a college or university). Here’s how it works: Each letter grade equals a certain number of points: “A” = 4.0, “B” = 3.0, “C” = 2.0, “D” = 1.0, and “F” = 0.  A “+” added to a grade is worth another 0.5 points, so the difference between getting a “B” and a “B+” or a “C” and a “C+” is significant (important).

The explanation behind these findings may be found in teenagers’ changing bodies. When people reach ages 13-19, their circadian rhythms — their natural “body clock” — change and teenagers stay up (remain awake) later at night and sleep later in the morning. A later start time for school matches (is in agreement with) this change in the teenage brain.

Other research has found that later start times for school are also related to fewer car crashes (accidents where two cars hit each other) among teenage drivers. In a 2008 study, when a school delayed (made later) its start time by one hour, students reported fewer and fewer car accidents over the next two years, dropping over 16%. The researchers concluded that students slept more hours and as a result, were more alert (awake; aware of what is happening around them).

Some of the arguments against starting school earlier have to do with logistics (planning and organizing). American high school students often participate in after-school activities, such as sports and clubs. A later start time leaves less time for these activities. And school buses that transport high school students in a single district (collection of schools under one management) also transport elementary and middle school students, making changes in scheduling more difficult.

Every high school’s start time is different. Venice High School, the high school nearest to where I live, begins at 7:57 a.m. Jeff’s high school in Minnesota and mine in Arizona just happened to have (occurred by chance and not through planning) begun at the same time: 8:10 a.m. Now I have an excuse (reason or explanation) for my grades, although Jeff clearly overcame this obstacle (succeeded despite this difficulty).

Is the school year beginning where you live? What time did the school day begin when you were in high school? Is it different now?

– Lucy

Photo Credit: Venice High School from Wikipedia. Venice High School has been used as the location for several famous films, including Grease and Nightmare on Elm Street, and for several music videos, including one by Britney Spears.

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Sleeping Through Math Class

  1. Dan says:

    Hey Lucy,

    How are you? I am good.
    I am about to do my Yoga, you know, I am trying to keep flexible as much as I can, and I do that for my mild back pain as well.
    I am not an expert, just a beginner following the instructions of yoga teachers on You Tube.

    I cannot contribute to this post because having no kids I am completely detached from the school world-
    Having left school 29 years ago it is hard for me remember anything from that time.

    I’ll ask something tomorrow to some of my coworkers and be back as I gather info on the subject.

    For now, as I am working the morning shift, I can tell you tomorrow the alarm is set to 4:45 AM.

    I am quite efficient even at that time! I should not say that myself, but I am quite a good worker.

    I do not know why, but it gets on my nerves when I am not able to answer Lucy’s or Jeff’s questions.

    Tomorrow I am going to survey my coworkers and find out answers for Lucy.

    See you tomorrow guys! child pose, sphinx pose here I come!

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy!

    How are you today? I am good, little bit tired, but well.

    As I promised I am back and I have found out that the year school in my region starts the 14th of September.
    And since I live just on the border with Switzerland I am going to give you the date for the Canton Ticino which is the southern part of Switzerland.
    They started the 31th of August.

    For the starting hour, next time I see my neighbor who happen to teach at a school over the border, I am going to ask her that.
    If they have changed something on that regard during the years. I am going also to ask if she is aware of these kind of studies.

    It’s almost time for my yoga session now. Hey, is anyone in here doing yoga as well?
    The female teachers I follow on you tube are all very attractive. That’s for a man it’s little bit distractive, you know.

    Anyway, thanks, bye!

  3. Dan says:

    Hello everyone! Good morning Lucy!

    I feel tired bud good. The morning shift is hard on my brain. It feels like it is shrinking, like a drying sponge.

    Hey, I remember that Britney Spears’ video. I love that school uniform she’s wearing in the video. Knee socks together with a miniskirt are very sexy/hot.

    Asian women wearing that uniform drive me crazy.

    BTW, thanks for the letter grade explanation. I have always wondered what that meant.

    I am going to have dinner now. That is rice with some zucchini thrown in it. Something simple.

    Bye everyone have a good day.

  4. peter says:

    Interesting !!!
    I m gonna recommend the lazy school starting-hours for work. My suggestion for the starting-hour would be past noon,12 pm.:)))
    If starting schools a tad late improve overall students grades and performance just imagine the sharp spike in productivity when work hours start past 12.:))

    Hi Lucy
    How have you been ?
    Cool article
    I can tell that you are not an early person:)
    Well , it is a known fact that biological clock get all messed up when people reach teen years. Their body starting to go through changes. I myself had a teenage rebellion phase. Oh ,boy I was lazy-pants
    I hated all the morning getting-ready-to-go-to-School ritual!
    If my memory serves me right, back in my days ,the whole School shenanigans started around 8:45.
    Man ,it was too early.
    My mom literally tore me off my bed every morning. Sometimes I pretended that I m sick. Well , my mom never fell for it.the fake sickness would never work.
    Mothers are too smart for their own good. Don’t you think :)))))))

    I couldn’t pull a fast one on her even for once!!
    Well , I would play every trick in the book to stay just a bit longer in bed.
    Well ,the reason I had such a hard time getting out of bed was I pulled an all nighter
    Almost every night; not for studies but just for the hell of it.

    I admittedly was an stupid ,foolhardy kid.
    I wasn’t spoiled but a brat
    Looking back , I could have put all the extra hormone and energy into studying and make sth out of myself.

    Nowadays ,here , all the school districts ring the bell around 9-9:15.
    So today’s teen has more time to sleep-in.
    Trust me ,even 10 mores minutes counts!
    Guys ,it is 6 Am and I m already at the bus stop waiting for the buss to come along. So much for go-to-work-late policy :))))

    I like your article Lucy
    Keep up the good work

    I better take off

  5. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hi people. Who of you is fond of math classes? They are so good. I love them since I was a boy. If you want to know the world better, you have to learn math, just a little bit for your needs.

  6. lili:) says:

    Thank you Dear Lucy for this article. It is very significant for me. I have learned a lot from it.

    In addition to allowing me to learn some research results, knowledge about the G.P.A., and some terms and words like “circadian rhythms” and “logistics”, it actual brought me back to my happy memories of walking along the Santa Monica State Beach last summer.

    I followed the link to the Venice High School and found that it’s so close to the L.A. International Airport and Santa Monica State Beach. I was there last year! I could have bumped into Lucy and didn’t know! What a shame!

    I have some doubt here. I can believe that Jeff did well in his Maths (Math in U.S.) in High School, but I don’t believe it that Lucy didn’t do well in her Maths. Lucy probably got 98% and still dissatisfied because she wanted to get 100%. Am I right?

    Finally, all my children have grown up and not in High Schools anymore, so I have no idea what the high schools are doing and won’t spend time to find out. Very sorry about that!

    Many thanks again Lucy,

    Best Regards


  7. Dan says:

    Hi there everyone.

    Hope you guys are good today. I am feeling good.

    The working week it’s not finished yet, tomorrow I have to work. A little bit less though. From 6 to noon.

    My weekend is going to be all rest and watching videos. You know, something simple.

    I have just downloaded an app that allows me to control my pc with my smartphone like it was a remote controller.
    Sometimes I am on my bed with my cat, and she does not want to move away when I have to get up in order to reach my pc and start a new video.
    Using my phone I can avoid that and command my pc from a distance.
    It has the basic controls left and right click, volume, zoom in/out, and you can even insert text.
    I have a ASUS phone, so the app is made by them.

    Thanks and have a good weekend everyone

  8. peter says:

    Dear jeff,
    Refer to the latest episod about ” hard of hearing.”
    Don’t u think what teenagers do is grumble not mumble?


  9. peter says:

    Hi Lili formerly known as Betty :)))
    Boy,you got me there Betty,I give you that :))
    A heads up would be good Betty :))
    Man , I feel embarrassed
    Happy to have you around sis
    Next time u assume another name please give us heads up in advance.
    Perhaps you did it and I didn’t pick up on that.
    My bad sis!
    So ,I didn’t get it yet
    Tell me which name is you allies which is ur real name.
    I don’t have a pen name
    Pete is just a short for Peter

    Dear Emiliano ,
    Refer to your kind words about me on the latest time table post.
    I m just trying bro
    I m blushing !!!/)
    You are too kind my friend
    Thanks for the voice of support
    In my book , We are all getting better. The damn eslpod works :))))

    Dear Dan,
    You know not all the contribution ,not necessarily, has to have money value attached to it.
    I like your thoughts on the matter bro and I back you up
    The point here we are a handful of people 5 or 6 strong
    The biggest contribution here is :never to back down
    Just keep writing bro
    Trust me that will do

    I m out of here

  10. Sumiet says:

    Dear jeff


  11. peter says:

    Hi Acieo ,
    I see you have a thing for math.
    Well , I m not math minded

    In fact ,I hate math!
    I remember ,back in my day ,I resented attending math classes. I would do every thing in my powers to avoid them.

    I hate the multiplication table most
    It took me almost forever to memorize it.
    Boy,it was a pain

    Well ,people are different
    U know what the say ,” variety is the spice of life.

    Well ,it is just me

  12. Dan says:

    Hey everyone.

    How are you guys? I am ok.

    Nice reading from you guys Hi Pete, hello Lili How is you middle age spread going? shrinking or expanding?
    My cats have a little bit of belly spread down, you know, they eat a lot.

    I need to look for expressions like when you start a sentence for complaining or expressing disappointment without sounding rude.
    Something like “darn” “jeez”

    Jeez! I had to remove that piece of software I was talking about yesterday because it made my pc malfunction.
    The keyboard and touchpad did not work properly.
    My cat is not happy with that because it means that any time I need to get up and she does not like that.
    I am making her changing position and that is too much effort.

    Anyway, thanks and enjoy your Saturday.

  13. peter says:

    Hi Lili,
    Lucy got me with “circadian rhythms” too.
    I found it gorgeous !! Absolutely beautiful.
    It is the winner.

    It entered to my permanent lexicon.
    I m gonna cherish it.

    I can’t wait to use it on my friend!
    Every time Lucy ,jeff ,or Warren Come up with some highfalutin terms or phrases, I always boxed them in then later on used them profusely on my friends. :))
    I love the face they make when they get all puzzlerd for the term I use them mercilessly with my friends.:)
    It is one of my joys in life :))

    Well , u got it right ! If anything ,I m a happy camper.
    I have a zest for life.

    U know, blog posts are one of my favorit section of eslpod.

    I treat them as a book. By that I mean , I copy and pase them as bundles , 5 or 6 of them together on my iPhone then read them before I go to sleep. I read a bunch of those bundles almost every night.
    For my money , It is The best light reading ever. The damn thing put me right out after 20 or 30 minutes read .:))))

    Reading them always amazes me how much I missed the first round I read them.

    You know , the thing is , once they are freshly out of eslpod batch :))), I m so keyed up to read them fast. So , I can write one comment or two about them down below here. Accordingly , I just skim them first time around.

    I m telling you sis ,when all the excitement and rush settle y would be amazed how much you missed out on at the first round too.

    Trust me ,you do it and you will thank me later.

    I see that you had a trip to LA last year.
    Man,it is a beautiful city. The weather is a kicker.
    I had a few trips down there. I deliberately travel down there on February or January. U know ,a pleasant break from the harsh winter in this subarctic country.

    Man, it is a breath of fresh air once I am there.the weather is gorgeous in LA in winter time. It is polluted but wet and warm.
    The traffic is a killer though!

    I don’t know wether or not u pick up on that too , I find it Angelenos don’t get excited about the whole New Year’s and Christmas shebang ,all the ceremonial events ,as NewYorkers.
    Speaking of which , Have u ever been in NewYork in particularly in Manhattan ?
    It is my favorit city. It is cold in winter time though .well ,nothing that I can not take.

    Now that your kids are out of high-school you have more time to yourself which is a good thing. You must be a very proud mother.

    I don’t have kids but I gather it must be very joyful to see them off to college.

    After all ,they are our handiwork :)))))
    Just joking !
    Lightening the mood that is.

    Dan ,
    stop throwing me specs. I m not a high-tech buff like you. U need to explain them slower and simpler 🙂
    Man ,it must be a shame once laptops start acting up on us.

    It is 3:32 Am local time. I m totally restless!
    I couldn’t sleep a I figured it is best to read some of the latest posts and also say hi to u guys.

    You know Lili ,
    In all honesty ,I like Warren ‘s posts best !!
    I find them very charming
    He has a knack for finding very interesting topic posts.

    Well ,it is just one man opinion
    You may see it differently


Comments are closed.