More class time not correlated with better performance (CJ)

 

Today’s Carolina Journal (an arm of the John Locke Foundation) features an interview with Carolina Journal Radio’s Donna Martinez talking one-on-one with JLF education analyst Terry Stoops, in which he refers to the recent CJ study in which longer class time (longer school days and a longer school year) does not necessarily translate into better student performance.

This is the report Terry Grier does not want you to see.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Martinez: I have to say, Terry, when you think about it, this idea of longer school day, longer school year, it sounds good. It sort of makes intuitive sense. Is it really a good idea?

Stoops: No, it’s not good idea. And it does make intuitive sense because there is a perception out there, since No Child Left Behind was passed, that students are getting less time for some of the subjects they need to learn, and so that we need to add time to the school day or the school year. And, as well, there are Asian countries that are outperforming the United States that have longer school days and school years. So, intuitively, it sounds like a good idea, but when you look at the research, there is no evidence that a longer school day or a longer school year really helps students achieve more.

Martinez: Well, tell us about that, because you have done some research, and it’s all in your Spotlight paper. It’s called “Better Instruction, Not More Time.” What did you find?

Stoops: Well, when you look at international comparisons of student achievement, you find that a number of the countries that are on top of the achievement ladder do not necessarily have longer school days or school years, and those at the bottom don’t necessarily have shorter days and shorter school years. The perfect example of that is Mexico. And Mexican students spend a lot of time in school — much more than many other nations out there — yet they are one of the lowest-performing school systems in the world. So we see that there is really no correlation between the school day length, or the school year, length and student performance.

Martinez: Terry, there are a number of countries whose kids do exceedingly well on a lot of tests, and we see these comparisons every year. We tend to see the stories that come out, and it ranks United States students with students from other countries. The U.S. tends to be down the list. What is it, then, that other countries are doing with their schooling system that makes their kids achieve more than here in the U.S.?

Stoops: Well, it’s a number of factors. In some cases, it’s parental involvement. In other cases, it’s school choice. And even in other cases, it is teacher quality. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. But it’s good for us to get out of the way those misconceptions we have — beliefs like a longer school day and school year will help students achieve. If we can rule that out, we could look at other factors that may help students perform better here in the United States.

E.C. 🙂

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