Two papers issued last week by the National Academy of Education examine efforts to increase the amount of time students spend in school, and the connection between standards and high-quality assessments.
The first paper cites public support for increased learning time, through summer and after-school programs, and through increased instructional time. Yet it also says research has shown that the educational benefits of extra learning are often connected to other factors, such as whether the additional academic time is linked to new strategies for improved instruction. It calls for the federal government to support and test “promising practices” that can increase the participation of disadvantaged students in summer school programs, and for federal and state governments, business groups, and philanthropies to develop new models of after-school programs.
The second paper calls for the federal government to support the redesign of tests to accomplish several goals, including establishing clearer connections between “content” and “performance” standards and testing that more precisely measures not only students’ current performance, but also their academic progress.
The National Academy of Education is a nonprofit Washington-based group that seeks to advance education policy through high-quality research. It is composed of researchers from around the country, selected on the basis of their scholarship.
A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2009 edition of Education Week as Time on Learning, Assessment