Explore BrainMass

Explore BrainMass

    Optimal reading capacity of college students

    This content was COPIED from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

    When does reading become ineffective? Is it after 4-5 hours of reading for the next day discussion? Is there some type of proven research on this topic from a credible source? If so, please provide the link.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 10:36 pm ad1c9bdddf

    Solution Preview


    "When asked how much homework college students must do to complete their course assignments successfully, college teachers generally set the bar at around 25 hours per week. But in the last National Survey of Student Engagement, which I linked to in the previous post, few students came close to the minimum. On the question, "Hours per 7-day week spent preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work, analyzing data, rehearsing, and other academic activities," here is how first-year students came out:

    1-5 hours 17 percent
    6-10 hours 26 percent
    11-15 hours 20 percent
    16-20 hours 16 percent

    In fact, only 11 percent exceeded 25 hours per week. This means that nearly two-thirds of first-years come in at two hours a day or less, or, if they have a four-course load, a half-hour or less a day on each one. Add their in-class time and it equals a part-time job.

    Now, we might think that a lot of these students drop out, or that freshman courses aren't as demanding as upper-division courses, and so we should expect homework hours to rise with later years (sophomore, junior, senior). And the study hours of seniors do go up ? but not by much. Not much at all. Seniors logged pretty much the same rates as first-years except that they improved a couple of percentage points up the hour scale.

    So, even though seniors have a personal and/or career interest in their classes, more than half of them give those classes a half-effort. That may explain why NSSE reports also that one in five students, freshmen and seniors, admit coming to class frequently without having read the day's material. Plus, they claim that they still receive lots of A grades in those classes."


    "The average reading speed for college students (freshman through senior) is 250 words per minute for general expository reading. Scientific and technical material might take longer--we call that study reading and it might be as slow as 100 words per minute. We assume that students should spend about 2 hours in study for each hour of class, so for a 3 hour class, they should spend about 6 hours of study per week (and of course, the amount of total study time would include work on projects, papers, problem sets, writing lab reports, preparing for exams, etc., in addition to the assigned reading).

    One could look at the texts required and estimate the number of words on a page (count the number of rows and multiply by the number of words in any full line to get a rough estimate) and then make a judgment about how much reading to assign.

    Because speed of reading and comprehension is associated with prior knowledge, it is likely that students in advanced courses (upper division) might comprehend faster than those approaching a subject for the first time (lower division).

    Different types of courses have different reading demands--however, it is entirely possible that a textbook with advance organizers, bold-face headings, study questions, and summaries might be easier to read and comprehend (because of the study aids) than a long, possibly disjointed essay by a 'stream-of-consciousness' writer.

    'This is just a conjecture, but I don't think there should be a difference for different length courses ...

    Solution Summary

    Reseach on the maximum amount of time for college students to read and retain information without being overstressed.