8-Hour School Days
A boost in Massachusetts students’ MCAS scores has many speculating that a longer school day may be the key ingredient for improved student performance. Scores increased across all grade levels in math, English, and science, according to The Boston Globe.
Last fall, public schools in mostly low-income and low-performing districts extended the school day by one or two hours. According to state educators, the longer days afford students more time to focus on weak subject areas, hands-on instruction and participation in extracurricular activities. In turn, teachers can cover material more thoroughly, have more planning time, and receive extra training.
Other states are considering replicating the model. Massachusetts is the first state to adopt and fund such an experiment. But the state Board of Education cautions that the model may not remedy all struggling schools. “More time is a bit like more money, it doesn’t have inherent value; it depends on how you use it,” said state education board chairman Paul Reville. The state Education Department is currently conducting a separate three-year evaluation on the effectiveness of extending the school day, and will present a preliminary report in January.