New research suggests that a four-day school week not only doesn’t hurt student achievement but also seems to help.
Researchers Mary Beth Walker of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University compared 4th grade scores on state reading exams in 17 Colorado schools with compacted schedules and 5th grade math scores in 14 such schools against scores in demographically similar schools with traditional schedules.
Overall, schools that moved to a four-day week started out with lower average scores than the control schools, but saw a significant increase in the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on both reading and math tests after they switched to the four-day week compared with the control schools. The report suggests a number of potential explanations, including improved attendance, increased teacher job satisfaction, and better teaching methods.
A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2012 edition of Education Week as School Schedule