School & District Management Report Roundup

Four-Day School Week Linked to Gains in Math

By Liana Loewus — September 15, 2015 1 min read

Switching to a shorter school week—with longer days—may actually give students an academic advantage, according to a recent study of rural Colorado elementary schools.

The study looked at 15 schools that had switched to a four-day school week sometime between 2000 and 2010 and compared test results before and after the policy change. The authors also compared those schools with similar schools that maintained the five-day week, controlling for such variables as poverty levels, population density, student-teacher ratio, and racial and ethnic demographics.

The results, published recently in the journal Education Finance and Policy, show that students were more likely to score “proficient” or “advanced” in math after changing to the four-day week.

“With the math-test scores, our results were very robust and statistically significantly positive,” Mark Anderson, an assistant professor of economics at Montana State University and a co-author of the study, said in a phone interview.

In reading, improvement in test scores was also correlated to a shorter week, but the data weren’t always statistically significant. The study also points to some anecdotal evidence that moving to a four-day week may help attendance rates. While the study only looked at 4th and 5th graders, Anderson says he would expect the results to generalize for other elementary students.

The findings do not, however, offer much insight into why having a shorter week which also means having longer individual school days in these districts might be leading to an uptick in math scores and steady results (or better) in reading. Among the possible explanations, said Anderson, are more continuity in lesson plans, more preparation time for teachers, and more time for students to do homework.

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 2015 edition of Education Week as Four-Day School Week Linked to Gains in Math

Events

School & District Management Live Event EdWeek Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Teachers' Mental Health Has Suffered in the Pandemic. Here's How Districts Can Help
Teachers’ stress and anxiety have soared during the pandemic, making it critical for districts to look after their mental health.
9 min read
Woman working at computer.
Getty
School & District Management Remote Learning Isn't Going Away. Will It Create Separate—and Unequal—School Systems?
Demand for remote learning is likely to continue in the fall, raising concerns about the quality of education virtual students will receive.
9 min read
Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after her virtual school hours while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of his computer on Feb. 10, 2021, at their residence in Chicago's predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood. Her mother, Rosa, worries that her diabetes and her husband's high blood pressure could put their lives at risk if their kids brought the coronavirus home from school.
Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after virtual school, while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of his computer in their Chicago home in February. Their mother worried that sending them back to in-person learning would put her and her husband at risk for getting COVID-19.
Shafkat Anowar/AP
School & District Management Opinion Young People Have a Desire to Save Their World. How Can We Help?
Young people have an interest in learning and an innate desire to be part of saving society. Why do adults stand in the way?
Michael Fullan & Joanne Quinn
5 min read
Michael Fullan   FCG
Shutterstock
School & District Management Masks or No Masks: School Leaders Say They Can't Make Anyone Happy
More states are passing the buck on masking requirements to districts—and superintendents say their decisions are bound to displease someone.
11 min read
Second grader Ernesto Beltran Pastrana puts on his face mask while attending class during the first day of partial in-person instruction at Garfield Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. on March 30, 2021.
Second grader Ernesto Beltran Pastrana puts on his face mask while attending class during the first day of partial in-person instruction at Garfield Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., in March.
Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP