Well-regarded studies confirm the importance of instructional time to student success.
An analysis of 15 studies addressing the effects of extending the school day or year found that 14 showed evidence for a positive relationship between extended school time and student outcomes. The researchers found that better-designed studies produced more consistent and positive results. Extended school time appeared to be particularly beneficial to at-risk students.
"Extending the School Day or School Year: A Systematic Review of Research (1985 – 2009)." Erika A. Patall, Harris Cooper and Ashley Batts Allen. Review of Educational Research. September 2010. Vol. 8, No. 3, pgs. 401-436.
Studies show that lost instructional time due to weather emergencies negatively affects student performance.
"School Year Length and Student Performance: Quasi-Experimental Evidence." Hansen, Benjamin. February 28, 2008.
Studies show that decreased instructional time is strongly linked to diminishing student understanding of complex science concepts.
"Designing for knowledge integration: The impact of instructional time." Douglas Clark and Marcia Linn. The Journal of Learning Sciences. 2003. (JSTOR).
Massachusetts schools with extended learning time are achieving superior results.
In 2005, Massachusetts launched an Expanded Learning Time Initiative, which now includes more than 10,000 students in 19 schools. Students who attend Extended Learning Time schools are seeing impressive gains in math, reading, and science compared with their peers. Additionally, a higher proportion of teachers in those schools report that they are satisfied with the amount of time available for instruction.
"Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative 2010-11 Update." Mass 2020
Analysis of Massachusetts Schools Shows Additional Learning Time has a Positive Impact
Specific practices can lead to dramatic increases in student achievement
The National Center on Time and Learning's report, Time Well Spent, offers an in-depth examination of 30 expanded-time schools serving high-poverty populations with impressive track records of student success, and demonstrates how these schools leverage their additional time in order to implement other critical reforms.
"Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools" Claire Kaplan & Roy Chan. September 30, 2011.
High-achieving schools in Chicago and across the country feature more instructional time.
Noble School Charter Network, Chicago
At Noble schools, the day runs from 8:30am to 4:00pm — a full hour and forty-five minutes longer than at a typical Chicago Public School. Noble schools also have a 185-day year, as opposed to the typical 170-day CPS calendar. Noble schools have had remarkable success: Noble schools were #1 and #2 in 2010 ACT scores among CPS open-enrollment schools, accounting for 5 of the top 10 open-enrollment high schools.
"ACT Average Scores" data from CPS Office of Performance
Noble Street College Prep Academic Calendar
Urban Prep Academy, Chicago
Because of Urban Prep's 8:30am to 4:30pm school day, over four years graduating Urban Prep seniors have spent 72,000 minutes more in the classroom than their peers in traditional Chicago public schools. Urban Prep has an outstanding track record of success, with every member of its first and second graduating classes gaining admission to a four-year college.
"Entire Graduating Class of Urban Prep Charter Academy Accepted to College." ABC News. March 12, 2010.
"Urban Prep charter school seniors get into Ivy League schools." Chicago Tribune. May 5, 2010.
KIPP is a national network of open-enrollment charter schools. KIPP schools typically give students more than 1,700 instructional hours a year, up to 60% more than the national average. The results are powerful. A longitudinal analysis of 22 KIPP schools by Mathematica Policy Research found that for the "vast majority of KIPP schools studied, impacts on students' state assessment scores in mathematics and reading are positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial" and that "[e]stimated impacts are frequently large enough to substantially reduce race- and income-based achievement gaps within three years of entering KIPP."
"Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar." National Center on Time and Learning and Education Commission of the States. Summer 2011.
"Student Characteristics and Achievement in 22 KIPP Middle Schools." Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. June 2010.
Education leaders confirm the importance of instructional time to student success.
U.S. Secretary of Education and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan has spoken strongly about the need to increase instructional time for students. "It doesn't matter how poor, how tough the family background, socioeconomic challenges," says Duncan. "Where students have longer days, longer weeks, longer years – that's making a difference."
"Education chief favors longer school year." Streitfeld, Rachel. CNN.
In a New York Times Op-Ed, Luis A. Ubinas, the president of the Ford Foundation, and Chris Gabrieli, the chairman of the National Center on Time and Learning, wrote, "What’s needed is more time in classrooms, not less. Our school calendar, with its six-and-a-half-hour day and 180-day year, was designed for yesterday’s farm economy, not today’s high-tech one. While many middle-class families now invest in tutoring and extra learning time, less-privileged children are left on the sidelines, which only widens gaps in achievement and opportunity."
"Shortchanged by the Bell." Ubinas, Luis A. and Gabrieli, Chris, New York Times, August 23, 2011.
The Education Trust, an educational think tank based in Washington, D.C., reports that high performing schools are obsessive about time, especially instructional time.
"Improving Achievement and Closing Gaps: What Can We Learn From Schools That Get It Right?" Dr. Linda Murray, Superintendent in Residence at The Education Trust-West. 4th National "Reaching At-Promise Students" Conference. February 2009.