Recent studies have shown that longer school days may equal better grades, especially for students in poor neighborhoods. Longer days can include more curriculum and areas of study, and they can also provide more stability to some students lives. Schools could use the extra time to focus on core subjects, and quality enrichment activities.
`The school day is being lengthened from six and a half hours to eight hours in an effort by under performing schools to raise student-performance levels.
Concerns over how to successfully improve failing schools have lead researchers to look at the benefits of longer days with a more varied curriculum. They found that when students in low-income areas are given more time, test scores improve between 11 and 24 percent.
That improvement isn’t subtle, according to the National Center on Time & Learning, which says the test scores not only improve, but also close in on those of well-performing schools.
“With more time, teachers have the power to transform the way they deliver their lessons and the way in which they lead their schools to higher achievement,” the Time to Succeed Coalition said. “Teachers can use expanded learning time to collaborate and share best practices from the classroom in order to improve their instruction.”
According to NCTL 1,500 schools have adopted the lengthened schedule, 900 of which are district schools, serving over 500,000 students.
“Schools should explore ways to use more time to focus on core academics and enrichment activities — such as art, music, apprenticeships and sports — that provide a well-rounded education, as well as to provide teachers with more time for collaboration, planning and professional development,” Tiffany D. Miller wrote for the Center for American Progress.
The change is not merely one of time. The research shows that more time means nothing if it isn’t well used.