Little experimental evidence exists on the causal impact of class time on academic performance when students have access to extensive course material online. We randomized 725 college students into traditional twice-per-week and compressed once-per-week lecture formats in introductory microeconomics. Students in the traditional format scored 3.2 out of 100 points higher (0.21 standard deviations) on the midterm than those in the compressed format but a statistically insignificant 1.6 points higher (0.11 standard deviations) on the final. There were no differences in non-cognitive outcomes. Students in the middle tercile of predicted test scores performed worst in the compressed format relative to those in the traditional format but there was little difference in test scores by format in the top tercile of predicted performance. While the compressed format offers clear savings in classroom space and professors' time, these savings come at some cost to student performance. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Classroom time
- Student performance