Time alone isn’t enough

Extending the school day without improving teaching won’t make much difference, concludes a new Education Sector report,  Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can’t) Do for School Turnarounds.

More than 90 percent of the schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants have chosen turnaround options that call for more class time. Some have added class time by shortening recess and lunch. Others have created after-school programs.

“New designs for extended time should be a part of the nation’s school improvement plans,” (author Elena) Silva concludes. “But policymakers and school leaders must recognize that successful schools use time not just to extend hours and days but to creatively improve how and by whom instruction is delivered.”

The limited research on extended learning time (ELT) shows only small effects on student achievement, the report concludes. “Schools that have succeeded with extended time have done so largely because they include time as part of a more comprehensive reform.” Just doing the same old thing for an extra 20 minutes a day isn’t going to help.