Skip Nav

10 Telling Studies Done on Longer School Days

YESSSSSSSSSSS shorter dayssss

❶Depending on the financial or political costs of extending school years, those with a stake in education might think differently about gains attributable to the quality of instruction provided and gains attributable to the quantity.

Education Next is a journal of opinion and research about education policy.

Testimonials
Why School Should Be Shorter
Neuroscience

To put that seemingly small impact in context, Marcotte reports that in winters with average levels of snowfall about 17 inches the share of students testing proficient is about 1 to 2 percentage points lower than in winters with little to no snow. Marcotte and Steven Hemelt collected data on school closures from all but one school district in Maryland to estimate the impact on achievement.

The percentage of students passing math assessments fell by about one-third to one-half a percentage point for each day school was closed, with the effect largest for students in lower grades.

Hansen found effects in Maryland that are nearly identical to those reported by Marcotte and Hemelt, and larger, though statistically insignificant, results in Colorado. Hansen also took advantage of a different source of variation in instructional time in Minnesota. Utilizing the fact that the Minnesota Department of Education moved the date for its assessments each year for six years, Hansen estimated that the percentage of 3rd- and 5th-grade students with proficient scores on the math assessment increased by one-third to one-half of a percentage point for each additional day of schooling.

While our studies use data from different states and years, and employ somewhat different statistical methods, they yield very similar results on the value of additional instructional days for student performance.

We estimate that an additional 10 days of instruction results in an increase in student performance on state math assessments of just under 0.

To put that in perspective, the percentage of students passing math assessments falls by about one-third to one-half a percentage point for each day school is closed. Other researchers have examined impacts of instructional time on learning outcomes in other states, with similar results.

For example, University of Virginia researcher Sarah Hastedt has shown that closures that eliminated 10 school days reduced math and reading performance on the Virginia Standards of Learning exams by 0. Economist David Sims of Brigham Young University in took advantage of a law change in Wisconsin that required all school districts in that state to start after September 1.

Because some districts were affected while others were not, he was also able to provide unusually convincing evidence on the effect of changes in the number of instructional days. He found additional instruction days to be associated with increased scores in math for 4th-grade students, though not in reading.

Collectively, this emerging body of research suggests that expanding instructional time is as effective as other commonly discussed educational interventions intended to boost learning. Figure 1 compares the magnitude of the effect of instructional days on standardized math scores to estimates drawn from other high-quality studies of the impact of changing class size, teacher quality, and retaining students in grade.

The effect of additional instructional days is quite similar to that of increasing teacher quality and reducing class size. The impact of grade retention is comparable, too, though that intervention is pertinent only for low-achieving students. Although the evidence is mounting that expanding instructional time will result in real learning gains, evidence on the costs of extending the school year is much scarcer and involves a good deal of conjecture.

Comparing costs of expanding instructional days with the costs of other policy interventions will be an analytic and policy exercise of real importance if the call for expanded instructional time is to result in real change.

Complicating this analytic task are differences in costs that exist across schools and states. Utilities, transportation, and teacher summer-labor markets vary widely across geographic areas, and all affect the cost of extending the school year.

So, while the benefits of extending the school year may exceed the costs in some states or school districts, they may not in others. A further complication is the possibility of diminishing returns to additional instructional time.

Our research has studied the effect of additional instructional days prior to testing, typically after approximately school days. The effect of extending instructional time into the summer is unknown. Also, our research has focused on the variation in instructional days prior to exams, or accountable days.

The effect of adding days after exams could be quite different. Costs of extending school years are as much political as economic. Teachers have come to expect time off in the summer and have been among the most vocal opponents of extending school years in several locations. Additional compensation could likely overcome this obstacle, but how much is an unresolved and difficult question. Teachers are not the only ones who have grown accustomed to a summer lasting from June through August.

Students and families have camps, vacations, and work schedules set up around summer vacation. Longer school years might reduce tourism and its accompanying tax revenue.

These additional costs likely vary by state and district, but are clearly part of the analytic and political calculus. As education policymakers consider lengthening the school year and face trade-offs and uncertainties, it is important to recognize that expanding instructional time offers both opportunities and hazards for another reform that is well established, the accountability movement. Educators, policymakers, parents, and economists are sure to agree that if students in one school learn content in half the time it takes comparable students at another school to learn the same content, the first school is doing a better job.

How students would rank these schools is equally obvious. Yet state and federal accountability systems do not account for the time students actually spent in school when measuring gains, and so far have no way of determining how efficiently schools educate their students.

Depending on the financial or political costs of extending school years, those with a stake in education might think differently about gains attributable to the quality of instruction provided and gains attributable to the quantity.

To see how the contributions of these inputs might be separated, consider data from Minnesota. But during that period, there was substantial year-to-year variation in the number of instructional days students had prior to the test date. In Figure 2, we plot both the reported test scores for Minnesota 3rd graders the solid line and the number of days of instruction those students received the bars.

Useful, and readily calculated, is the time series of test scores, adjusting for differences in the number of instructional days the dotted line. Comparing the reported and adjusted scores is useful for at least two reasons. First, it illustrates the role of time as a component of test gains. Overall, scale scores increased by 0. Of this increase, a large portion was attributable to expansion in instructional time prior to the test date.

Adjusting for the effect of instructional days, we estimate that scores increased by roughly 0. Second, the comparatively steady gain in adjusted scores over the period provides evidence of improvements in instructional quality, independent of changes in the amount of time students were in class.

The fast year-to-year increases in the first and last periods result in large part from increases in the amount of time in school, while the negligible change in overall scores between and does not pick up real gains made despite a shortened school year. Adjusted scores pick up increases in learning gains attributable to how schools used instructional time, such as through changing personnel, curricula, or leadership.

The point here is that time-adjusted scores provide information that is just as important as the overall reported scores for understanding school improvements. A robust accountability system would recognize that more instructional time can be used to meet goals, but that more time is neither a perfect substitute for, nor the same thing as, better use of time.

Failing to account for the role of time in student learning not only means missed opportunity, it also creates potential problems. First, it can allow districts to game accountability systems by rearranging school calendars so that students have more time in school prior to the exam, even as the overall length of the school year remains constant.

Beginning in the s, districts in a number of states began moving start dates earlier, with many starting just after the first of August. The question arose whether these changes might be linked to pressures on districts to improve performance on state assessments. David Sims showed that Wisconsin schools with low test scores in one year acted strategically by starting the next school year a bit earlier to raise scores. Evidence of gaming soon emerged in other states as well.

Wisconsin passed its law requiring schools to begin after September 1 to prevent such gaming; similar laws were recently passed in Texas and Florida. The motives driving earlier start dates could spill over into other instructional policies. Minnesota moved its testing regimen from February to April in the wake of accountability standards, while Colorado legislators have proposed moving their testing window from March into April, with advocates suggesting that the increased time for instruction would make meeting performance requirements under No Child Left Behind more feasible for struggling schools.

Schools thus sacrifice educational inputs such as smaller classes or higher teacher salaries to pay for the later test date. A second hazard involves fairness to schools at risk of being sanctioned for poor performance: The impact of instructional time on learning means that one factor determining the ability of schools to meet performance goals is not under the control of administrators and teachers.

We illustrate the effects of time on making adequate yearly progress AYP as defined by No Child Left Behind by comparing the performance of Maryland schools the law identified as underperforming to estimates of what the performance would have been had the schools been given a few more days for instruction. We begin with data from all elementary schools in Maryland that did not make AYP in math and reading during the —03 to —05 school years.

This allows us to estimate what the proficiency rates in each subject would have been had those schools been open for all scheduled instructional days prior to the assessment. We then compare the predicted proficiency rate to the AYP threshold. We summarize the results of this exercise in Figure 3. If starting school later or having shorter hours has already been proven to help, why hasn't anything been done? Teachers tend to assign hours of homework every night.

This is just one class. All teachers do it and expect the assignment the next day. While assigning these they also say you should still get 8 hours of sleep. With these two factors, getting homework done and still getting a good amount of sleep where you can still function just becomes a cycle of endless impossibilities. Most of the adolescents of today suffer from sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens are the least likely to get their required amount of sleep to function at a satisfactory level.

This sleep schedule that had been interrupted by school, work , and other activities affects brain development, and the ability to take in important information. A lack of sleep can cause a number of things. Such as emotional and behavioral problems, violence, depression, alcohol use, impaired cognitive function, etc.

The list just gets longer. All of these consequences just because nobody wants to shorten the school day. Although sleep is a huge and major part, it is not the only part. Just cutting off one day from school would save millions for school districts. This causes budget cuts and that makes for a lower quality learning experience.

Quality papers at the best prices

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Shorter school days research as the main topic of universities essay with geography coursework data presentation. These manifestations could be days school shorter research other explanations for such dealer certified cars come with age.

Privacy FAQs

While longer school days may work for some students and districts as a whole, research on the issue is divided. Some studies have found little to no benefit to extending the school day, at least not without making serious other changes to the school’s curriculum as well.

About Our Ads

Contributing to the stress of the day, a wide amount of students, including younger ages, are consumed with a variety of after-school activities including clubs, jobs, and . Because longer school years require greater resources, comparing a district with a long school year to one with a shorter year historically often amounted to comparing a rich school district to a poor one, thereby introducing many confounding factors.

Cookie Info

Shorter school days would lead to healthier students. Because of the shortened school days, students would have more time to be active after school. The shorter school days would also benefit our sports teams. Teams of all sports would have more time to practice. The shorter school days would also lead to students having more fun after school. shorter school days Posted by Sydney Montgomery in English 3 on Monday, May 1, at pm All students have ever complained about in school is the hours.