Every day, high school students are faced with choices about how to spend their time. Students who work with high school guidance counselors and connect schoolwork with home life are more likely to succeed. Students need a web of support to help them prioritize their daily schedule and engage in practices that steer them toward academic achievement and success. Parents, teachers and even peers can influence behavior and, ultimately, the decision to be focused on academic pursuits.
Implementing an organizational strategy is a key step in increasing productivity for high school students, according to Fennimore Community Schools. Using a planner or calendar to track assignments and tests provides a visual map of when to plan study time. Study time should be a regular part of each day and scheduled when concentration can be maximized. For example, studying for a test at 10 p.m. may be difficult after a long day of school and other activities, especially if the day starts early the next morning. It’s important to keep study areas such as a bedroom neat and orderly. Similarly, organizing a backpack and locker enables students to find class notes and materials easily.
Sleep Is Important
Since teenagers are still growing and developing, sleeping for eight to nine hours each night is essential. Adequate sleep contributes to increased concentration and productivity at school. Students who are sleep deprived are more likely to feel depressed, be late or miss days entirely. Making sleep a priority helps high school students stay awake, be engaged in class and, ultimately, earn higher grades. If a teen is going to be involved in extracurricular activities, sports or a part-time job, ensuring sleep is not compromised is critical to satisfactory academic progress.
High school students need to engage in challenging coursework. Enrolling in advanced-placement courses, advanced classes or post-secondary optional courses helps students strive for success, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Students should set short and long-term academic goals that include rigorous classes. Goals should be measurable and attainable but stretch a student to achieve more. Parents and teachers should review goals to ensure realistic academic planning. For example, if a student sets a goal that is unlikely to be reached, it may reduce motivation and encourage a sense of failure.
Homework serves as a vehicle to enhance engagement in learning by high school students and their parents. (See source 4)Higher test scores and class grades are an obvious outcome. Developing study habits and a love for learning are long-term results of a daily homework commitment. Homework offers parents the opportunity to get involved by exposing them to academic content and teacher expectations. High school students who regularly complete their homework feel more confident in the classroom and experience the positive outcomes of working independently outside of the classroom, according to SEDL.
- National Sleep Foundation: School Start Time and Sleep
- U.S. Department of Education: Smart Ideas to Increase Educational Productivity
- Duke University: DukeTODAY: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, as Long as There Isn't too Much
- SEDL: Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: If So, How Much Is Best?
- University System of Georgia: Student Affairs
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.