Developing Performance Consistency

Students who do well in school tend to be characterized by consistent performance. Such students turn their homework in on time, use effective study strategies, and produce work of a sufficient quality. An even flow of mental energy helps these students perform at a consistent level. Rather than fluctuating from moment to moment, hour to hour, or even day to day, students work in a reliable and predictable manner, supported by mental energy that flows in an even and consistent way.

Here are some strategies for promoting performance consistency.

Helpful Hints

  • Monitor factors that seem to affect performance inconsistency, such as particular times during the day or throughout a series of days when the student does well or poorly.  
  • Help students become aware of time periods in which they can work most consistently. Encourage students to focus their work efforts (or produce materials) during such periods of sufficient mental energy.  
  • Be aware of the length of time students can maintain consistent performance, and plan scheduled breaks accordingly. Breaks between activities may have a purpose such as collecting papers, or helping prepare for the next class activity by passing out materials, erasing the board, or writing objectives on the board.  
  • Students with inconsistent performance may benefit from an advanced warning before being called on in class (e.g., In three minutes I am going to ask you to answer the first two questions on the board; In our next activity, I will ask you to diagram these sentences, etc.  
  • Help students choose and use strategies that promote output, especially at times when their energy levels are low.  
  • Use peers as behavioral role models to encourage performance consistency.  
  • Provide examples of other students’ work (e.g., from previous years, with names removed) as models that students can follow on current projects.  
  • Teach strategies that students can use on a wide variety of tasks. For example, have them use a word processing program on computer to develop templates for later use, e.g., a template for getting my homework done, for solving a math word problem, for asking for help in class, etc. Teach students to self-monitor their own work, by evaluating the quality of their planning and performance throughout a task.