Drinking in Exam Week Hurts College Students’ Performance

Stop the presses! This shocking news from “Inside Higher Education”:

Drinking in Exam Week Hurts College Students’ Performance

College students who drink before and during their final exams show a “statistically and economically meaningful reduction in academic performance” — “of approximately the same magnitude as being assigned to a professor whose quality is one standard deviation below average,” say the authors of a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study, by economists at the University of California at Davis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, take advantage of the Air Force Academy’s vigorous enforcement of the drinking age to compare the performance on exams of students who turn 21 before the exam period begins with the performance of those under 21, to “distinguish the effects of drinking from confounding factors.” The lowering of performance they discover is “largely driven by the highest-performing students,” the authors write.