A new study presents conflicting findings on how time for instruction affects students’ learning.
Writing in the May issue of the journal Educational Policy, Daniel A. Long, an assistant professor of sociology at Wesleyan University, assesses previous studies on time and learning and examines data from the 2000 and 2006 administrations of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Echoing previous research, his analysis of 2000 PISA data finds that, controlling for socioeconomic status, instructional time has a statistically insignificant effect on student learning. In contrast, the 2006 PISA, which included more countries and a wider range of developing countries, shows a strong, statistically significant effect from subject-specific instruction.
Mr. Long suggests that the difference in results could be due to a different and, he says, better measure of instructional time in the 2006 PISA survey, which asked students about the number of hours they spent in reading and math lessons. The 2000 survey asked school administrators to report the average length of a class period and asked students to report the number of periods they spent on subjects per week.
A version of this article appeared in the June 11, 2014 edition of Education Week as Time and Learning