The Early Bird Gets the Germ

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Summer 2014

High school students are healthier and get better grades when their start time is later, according to a three-year study led by Kyla Wahlstrom (B.S. ’71, Ph.D. ’90), director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. Using data from more than 9,000 students attending eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming, the study found that switching to later start times improves attendance, standardized test scores, and academic performance in math, English, science, and social studies. In addition, tardiness, substance abuse, symptoms of depression, and consumption of caffeinated drinks decreased. Perhaps most dramatically, the study found a 70 percent drop in the number of car crashes involving teen drivers at Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming, which shifted to a start of time of 8:55 a.m., the latest of the eight schools.


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