Time and Learning in Schools: A National ProfileReport as inadecuate

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National Center on Time & Learning

This report takes a first step toward filling the need for more information on time allocated to schooling. Data from the federal Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), the only nationally representative data source available for identifying variations in time across schools, are used to measure and document in-school time among the nation's traditional public, private and charter schools. The SASS does not collect data on student performance, and as a result does not support an exploration of the relationship between time and student learning. Nevertheless, the SASS is an important resource for understanding the incidence and distribution of time in schools, as well as trends over time. The authors primarily use data from the most recent administration of the SASS (school year 2007-08) to provide a "state of the field" report, which could be used in the future to monitor how time in school changes as state and federal policies continue to emphasize time as a turnaround and reform strategy. SASS data from the 1999-00 and 2003-04 administrations are also used to describe trends over time. In this report, the authors profile the amounts of in-school time allocated to traditional public, private and charter schools, and the ways in which schools use this time for key activities related to student learning and achievement. More specifically, the profile describes: (1) Average amounts of time children spend in school, and the differences among students enrolled in traditional public, private, and charter schools; (2) The extent to which schools have added more time to their school year and day, and which schools are more or less likely to do so; and (3) Differences among schools in the use of time during the school day. In each case, the authors present nationally representative estimates for regular schools; excluded from their analyses were state-operated special schools, schools that exclusively served students with special needs (e.g., special education), and Kindergarten or pre-school only schools. Where possible they compare traditional public schools to their private and charter school counterparts; however, in some instances, the sample size for private and charter schools is sufficiently small that they are able to report only findings for traditional public schools. The report begins with an overview of state policies governing in-school time. Within this context, they subsequently present estimates for the average length of the school year and day among traditional public, private and charter schools, as well as the frequency with which schools lengthen their school year or school day beyond the national average and the extent to which schools adopt a 12-month calendar. This is followed by a discussion of differences between extended and non-extended day schools in how they use time during the school day. The report concludes with a discussion of key findings and directions for future policy analysis and research. (Contains 20 figures and 66 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Profiles, Charter Schools, Educational Change, Time Management, National Surveys, Scheduling, Public Schools, Private Schools, Trend Analysis, Public Policy, Academic Achievement, State Policy, Comparative Analysis, Educational Policy

National Center on Time & Learning. 24 School Street 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02108. Tel: 617-378-3940; Fax: 617-723-6746; Web site: http://www.timeandlearning.org

Author: Kolbe, Tammy; Partridge, Mark; O-Reilly, Fran

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=1643&id=ED534897

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