4 Day week Info
4-Day Week Research
Study that says there is considerable anecdotal information about the potential benefits of four-day school weeks, there is limited systematic research on the impacts of this reform. It recounts how some districts did 4 day then moved back to 5 day after budget constraints were lessened. It focuses on four areas: 1. Financial savings, 2. Student achievement, 3. Other student and teacher outcomes, and 4. Stakeholder satisfaction. The financial section said that there were some savings but not as much as districts initially thought there would be. For student achievement, the study concluded that most of the literature on the practice concludes that a condensed schedule may have a positive effect and in most cases has no negative impact. Under Other outcomes the study mentioned increases attendance for both teachers and students, a decline in student disciplinary referrals and decline in high school dropout rate. Teachers reported increase in the efficiency of instruction and better use of class time. Under the last category the review reported that, “Although there is often public pushback on the initial approval of a four-day schedule, once implemented districts have often been surprised by the level of public support they find. (80-90%) The districts reported the switch boosted morale, reduced absenteeism, decreased the need for substitute teachers, and employee departures from the district declined.
The report listed challenges to implementation which included: Childcare, student fatigue, at-risk students, contact hours, shift in costs and legislative issues.
Article about student performance by Fiona Macdonald Aug. 31, 2015
Article talks about how the 4-day week contains the same number of hours of instruction that a 5 day week has and how the results didn’t show a lot of change in the reading scores but that the math scores went from 55.5% to 63.1% in the first year then up to 72% after 2 years of a 4 day week. The article hypnotized that perhaps teachers were so invigorated by the new schedule that they did a better job of teaching.
Article in NEW Today: Four-Day school weeks more popular, but impact on students and educators unclear by Cindy Long
This article mentioned some Colorado districts that switched and how their teachers feel their lessons have never been so effective since switching. Students seem more invested and “on” all the time. Their scores went up after the switch. It mentions the paper in Montana schools which was actually a doctoral dissertation, that found initial gains didn’t follow through in some districts in Montana. The researcher himself said that, “his research isn’t representative or predictive of all districts, his conclusions don’t mean all schools using a four-day model will share the same fate, and that there are probably districts in Montana that are still holding steady, even showing some increases.”
The article reported that staff, middle and high school students report 70-90% in favor and the parents who responded were 60% in favor.
It talked about a district in OK that didn’t have a good experience with their student performance and were worried that students weren’t eating on Fridays.
The article suggested that districts proceed with caution and look at all the issues before making the decision to switch.
Article in AASA - The Four-Day School Week by Kimberly Reeves
This article recounts the experience Animas Public Schools had in switching to 4-day week and the pros and cons of the switch. Discussion included the budget savings isn’t as much as anticipated but the student achievement was either better or stayed the same in the districts that they looked at. Mentioned the advantage in the recruitment of teachers the 4-day week offered.
D. Mark Anderson and Mary Beth Walker
Anderson, D. M., & Walker, M. (2012). Does shortening the school week impact student performance? Evidence from the four-day school week. Columbia, MO: The Association for Education Finance and Policy.
Public schools face difficult decisions on how to pare budgets. In the current financial environment, school districts employ a variety of policies to close budget gaps and stave off teacher layoffs and furloughs. An increasing number of schools are implementing four-day school weeks hoping to reduce overhead and transportation costs. The four-day-week policy requires substantial schedule changes as schools must increase the length of their school day to meet state-mandated minimum instructional hour requirements. Although some schools have indicated that this policy eases financial pressures, it is unknown whether the restructured schedule has an impact on student outcomes. In this study, we use school-level longitudinal data from the state of Colorado to investigate the relationship between the four-day school week and academic performance among elementary school students. We exploit the temporal and spatial variation in the four-day school week using a difference-in-differences empirical strategy. Our results suggest that student academic achievement has not been hurt by the change in schedule. Instead, the evidence indicates that the adoption a four-day school week shares a positive and often statistically significant relationship with performance in both reading and mathematics; the math results in particular are generally robust to a range of specification checks. These findings have policy relevance to the current U.S. education system, where many school districts must cut costs. The four-day school week is a strategy currently under debate.
Sagness, R. L., & Saltzman, S. A. (1993). Evaluation of the four day school week in Idaho suburban schools.
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction No ED36299
Findings of a study that investigated the impact of a 4-day school week in an Idaho suburban school district (Shelley School District) are presented in this paper. Data were derived from: (1) surveys of all district stakeholders, which included 2,039 K-12 students, 492 parents, 103 teachers, and 85 support staff; (2) a comparison of student-achievement scores with previous years; (3) classroom observations of engaged time; (4) an analysis of student, teacher, and staff absenteeism data; and (5) cost-factor analyses. Findings indicate that student achievement increased at some grade levels, and at other grade levels it was comparable with achievement for previous years. Other outcomes included high levels of student on-task behaviors, less disruption of instructional time, sustained student engagement, a decrease in employee and student absenteeism, and an approximate 1.6 percent savings in the district budget.
Modified school Schedules: A look at the research and the Pacific by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Research compilation that summarized data in 4-day school districts in New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon and Hawaii (pages 3-5) The report recounts how states reported better student achievement or no decline in student achievement, positive effect on student and teacher attendance, positive feelings and high morale, less discipline issues and higher teacher retention.
Document prepared by the Colorado Dept. of Education talking about the 4-day week pros and cons and success in Colorado.
CHILD CARE The issue of baby-sitting seems to be a wash. With the longer school day, students get home at approximately the same time as their parents. The latch-key issue is virtually non-existent on school days. The issue is the full day of child care needed on the fifth day. Most people have made the adjustment within neighborhoods or in other ways. With schools closed, more baby sitters are available. It does not seem more difficult to arrange for a single full day of babysitting than for a couple of hours five days per week. In many cases a single day is simpler.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The four-day week presents only one interesting method of utilizing time in ways other than the traditional. For many communities, it meets a need for efficiency. These communities tend to be small and rural in nature. Probably, these communities also have a larger percentage of traditional families with at least one parent not working outside the home. Many communities have a strong agricultural base with a tradition of family farms. There are potential implications beyond the rural setting. In the cities, school usually gets out around 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. If students stayed until 4:30, the latch-key problem could be reduced. The fifth day could then be used for family, recreational or community activities. In other words, the positive characteristics experienced by small districts might hold potential for larger districts as well. There are good reasons why districts which originally changed to four days for financial reasons during the energy shortage periods have maintained the practice even though the crisis has passed. These reasons may have implications for restructuring not driven primarily by finance. Even though a small percentage of students are enrolled in districts with a four-day week, almost a quarter of Colorado's school districts are on the plan. The practice clearly warrants a closer look as all schools are struggling to find new and innovative ways to meet the changing needs of today's students.