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A Comparative Analysis of the Academic Performance of Working Students with Regular Students

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A Comparative Analysis of the Academic Performance of working Students with Regular students

        A significant number of students are not only studying, but also working part-time while enrolled in university. Previous research is not consistent regarding the effect of part-time working on students’ achievement and well-being. Some research supports Astins’(1984) involvement theory claiming that part-time students have less time for studying, which results in worse academic achievement (e.g., Callender, 2008; Doolan, 2010; Garcia-Vergas , Rizo- Baeza, & Cortes-Castell, 2006; Morrison, 2009; Salamonson, Everett, Koch, Andrew & Davidson, 2012) and lower physical and mental well-being (Carney, McNeish, & McColl, 2005; Morrison, 2009; Mounsey,Vandehey & Diekhoff’ 2013; Roberts, Golding, Towell & Weinreb,1999). However, other studies showed benefits of wprking during higher education (Martinez, Bilges, Shabazz, Miller & Morete, 2012; Wng, Kong, Shan, & Vong, 2010), or no effect, neither in academic achievement (Curtis & Nimmer, 1991; Gleason, 1993; Lundberg, 2004; Monsey et al., 2013), nor in psychological well-being (Light, 2001; Mounsey et al., 2013).

        Student employment has been analysed in-depth for other countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom (see for ex. Richardson, Kemp, Malinen & Haultain, 2013; Curtis, 2007; or Nonis & Hudson, 2006). Generally, evidence that working influencesstudents’ academic performance is inclusive, as research suggests there are both positive & negative effects (Riggert, Boyle, Petrosko, Ash, & Rude-Parkins C., 2006, and Stern & Nakata,1991). There is, however, more conclusive evidence that employment during university studies has a positive  effect on working careers and future salaries, as well as a negative impact on university permanence or duration of studies (for a comprehensive review of literature on these issues, see Riggert et al., 2006, as cited by Simon, Diaz, Costa,2017).

        Conceptual Framework

        From a theoretical perspective, there are arguments both in favour of a hypothetical positive effect of students employment on academic achievement and of an opposite effect. Thus, negative effects of wirking can be drawn from a zero-sum model, where time spent working is taken away from time for studying. Conversely, positive effects can be substantiated using the model of primary orientation, where most motivated and skilled students may also be expected to be the most capable of balancing paid work and academic responsibilities (Warren,2002).

        Empirical evidence provided by exixting studies on possible effects of employment on academic achievement is not conclusive either. While some authors suggest employment has a harmful impact on academic outcomes (see, e.g.,Tyler, 2003; Stinebricker & Stinebricker, 2003; or Hawskings et al., 1995), others point out that working has a neutral or even beneficial impact (Furr and Elling ,2000;Nonis and Huason,2006;Pascarella,Bohr,Amaury,Dester and Zusman,1994;and Pascallera,Edison,Nora,Hagedorn and Terenzini,1998;Hammes and Haller,1983,and Gleason,1993),although a negative impact is possibly more obvious in the case of longer working hours.Either way,it is important to specify that in all cases identified effects are small.

        Different interpretations of results may be attributed to different research methods,or differences in the contexts under study,making it all the more relevant to expected these studies to other countries (Riggert et al.,2006).

        Futhermore ,it is important to note that students’ employment is measured differently from one study to another (for further details see Riggert et al.,2006).Thus,while some studies consider working students as a group,without taking into account employment characteristics ,other studies differentiate between part-time and fall-time job according to the number hours worked,based on different threholds,the most common threshold being a 30 hours working week(see,for ex.,Pike,Kuh and Massa-McKinley,2008;Lillydahl,1990;or Hood,Craig and Ferguson,1992).In the same way,some analyses distinguish between different motivations to work(Wenz and Yu,2010);they extent to whichthe type of job is related to the nature of the studies(Stern,Finkelstein,Urquiola and Campang,1997),or students own perception of the impact of their job or their academic outcomes (Curtis,2007).As far as measuring academic achievement is concerned,it should be noted that although a number of studies examining  the relationship between employment and performance used alternative measures,such as the time needed to complex studies or attribution rates(see,for ex.,Canabal,1998 or Gleason,1993),a large part of them used a measure of students’ average academic result in their degrees(in the case of the United States,the most usual being GPA,or grade point average)as dependent variable.

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