Extended- and expanded-learning programs can have a positive impact on students, particularly those who are low-income or at-risk, but more research is needed to determine what and how significant those effects are, says a new report from the Wallace Foundation.
Researchers examined 80 independent evaluations of extended school days, extended school years, and expanded-learning-opportunity programs. They found that while some evaluations showed promising outcomes, there was a limited base of solid research, particularly experimental studies, supporting such programs.
The report found that it was especially hard to determine for some initiatives whether it was the additional use of time or other reforms that led to a positive outcome.
“A better understanding of the circumstances under which extended learning time is beneficial is critical, primarily because the findings in the literature indicate that simply adding time is insufficient,” the report says. (The Wallace Foundation provides support for Education Week‘s coverage of expanded learning time.)
A version of this article appeared in the August 29, 2012 edition of Education Week as Time for Learning