As students return to school, they should think about the surprisingly big effect sitting near the front of the classroom can have.
According to a 1988 study by Max R. Rennels and Ramesh B. Chaudhari, students who sit near the front of the class tend to achieve higher average exam scores than those sitting in back seats. This is because sitting in the front can help students focus on their teachers.
Dianne Park, a tenth grader attending Orange County School of Arts, told JSR in an interview that, “[While] I like to sit near my friends, sitting in the front helps me be more focused, and I think I participate more when I’m sitting in the front. I feel more engaged.”
A teacher, interviewed for this article, concurs.
Joanne Kim, a part time elementary school teacher and English tutor, said, “I tend to stay more in the front [of class] and ask more questions to the students who sit in the front. [These] students are distracted less so they focus on me and my lessons.”
According to Kim, students who sit in the first row seats “have a lot more As than the students who sit at the last rows in a classroom.”
Being in the front of the classroom helps students concentrate on the board, and not the other students in between the student and the board. When students have eye contact with teachers, they also feel a positive obligation of participation. Seats do, it appears, matter.