Both research and practice indicate that adding time to the school day and/or year can have a meaningfully positive impact on student proficiency and upon a child’s entire educational experience. This survey of the research looks at how high-performing schools are using the extra time, particularly schools that serve large populations of low-income, at-risk students. Instructional time of at least 300 more annual hours than the conventional is one of the strongest predictors of higher achievement.
The Case for Improving and Expanding Time in School
Farbman, D. (February 2015) The Case for Improving and Expanding Time in School: A Review of Key Research and Practice. National Center on Time and Learning: Boston (MA).
Accelerating Achievement Through Summer Learning
National Summer Learning Association (June 2015). Accelerating Achievement Through Summer Learning. Los Altos, CA: David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
This report is designed as a resource for program providers, education leaders, policymakers, and funders who are making important decisions about whether and how to strengthen and expand summer learning programs as a way to accelerate student achievement. In addition to 13 case studies of diverse program models, the report includes a look at key research on what works in summer learning and an overview of supportive state policies.
Not Getting Our Money’s Worth
Clifford, K., Christeson, B., O'Connor, J. (2015) Not Getting Our Money’s Worth: An Outdated School Schedule Is Costing New York $2.3 Billion a Year. Washington, D.C.: ReadyNation.
This report spotlights the many reasons why six-hour school days and nine-month school years were better suited to the nation's agrarian past than to the 21st century's demands and opportunities. U.S. schools are losing an estimated $21 billion each year because of summer learning loss among children from lower-income families. The report advocates adding more and higher quality learning time, with an emphasis on improved curriculum, more effective teaching, more enrichment activities, and better accountability.
Giving English Language Learners the Time They Need to Succeed
Farbman, D. (December 2015) Giving English Language Learners the Time They Need to Succeed. Boston, MA: The National Center for Time and Learning.
With the number of students who are English language learners (ELLs) likely to double in coming years, it’s more important than ever for schools across the U.S. to design and implement educational practices and strategies that best meet ELLs’ learning needs. To inform both practitioners and policymakers in bringing about this higher level of school support, the report profiles three expanded-time elementary schools, providing both the framework and compelling examples for understanding how the strategies and effective practices aimed at helping ELL students blend together to produce a high-quality education and serve as the foundation for future success. The report identifies four best practices that worked in the schools: (1) Extended literacy blocks, with upwards of 2.5 hours per day focused on skills needed for reading and writing; (2) Using data to pinpoint areas where individual students struggle, then subdividing those students into small groups where staff can help address the challenges; (3) Maintaining support and services for fluent-speaking English-learners who need to boost their academic English skills; and (4) Ensuring that teachers meet often to align lesson plans, and identify and address student needs.
Mobilizing Volunteer Tutors to Improve Student Literacy: Implementation, Impacts, and Costs of the Reading Partners Program
Jacob, R.T., Armstrong, C., and Willard, J.A. Mobilizing Volunteer Tutors to Improve Student Literacy: Implementation, Impacts, and Costs of the Reading Partners Program (March 2015) New York, NY: MDRC.
This study reports on an evaluation of the Reading Partners program, which uses community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring to struggling readers in underresourced elementary schools. The study showed that after one year of implementation, the program significantly boosted students' reading comprehension, fluency, and sight-word reading — three measures of reading proficiency. These impacts are equivalent to approximately one and a half to two months of additional growth in reading proficiency among the program group relative to the control group.
Redesigning and Expanding School Time to Support Common Core Implementation
David A. Farbman, David J. Goldberg, and Tiffany D. Miller (2014) Redesigning and Expanding School Time to Support Common Core Implementation. Center for American Progress and the National Center on Time and Learning.
Redesigning schools with significantly more time for both student learning and teacher professional development and collaboration is one significant way to make certain that Common Core implementation is successful. Americans’ willingness to break out of the box of the 180-day, 6.5 hours-per-day school schedule can help with the transition to the Common Core State Standards, especially when targeting schools serving high concentrations of disadvantaged students. This report offers policy and strategy recommendations to support expanded learning time and help meet the demands associated with the Common Core.
Time for Teachers: Leveraging Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers
Claire Kaplan, Roy Chan, David A. Farbman, and Ami Novoryta (2014) Time for Teachers: Leveraging Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers. National Center on Time and Learning and Teach Plus.
This report examines 17 high-performing and fast-improving schools around the country that have taken advantage of expanded school schedules to provide students with more time for engaging academic and enrichment classes and teachers with more time to collaborate with colleagues, analyze students data, create new lesson plans, and develop new skills. On average, U.S. teachers spend approximately 80 percent of their time on instruction, while the international average for countries is 67 percent. Meanwhile, teachers in the schools featured in Time for Teachers spend 60 percent of their expanded school schedule on direct instruction with 40 percent of their time on collaboration, coaching, one-on-one support, and other activities.
Getting a Head Start on the Common Core
Summer Matters (November 2013), Getting a Head Start on the Common Core, Oakland, CA: Partnership for Children and Youth.
This report describes how education leaders can use summer programs to stop summer learning loss, and build student and staff capacity to succeed in the new Common Core environment. Part of the "Putting Summer to Work" series developed by the Partnership for Children and Youth.
Expanding Learning, Enriching Learning: Portraits of Five Programs
Browne, Daniel; Syed, Sarosh; and Mendels, Pamela. Expanding Learning, Enriching Learning: Portraits of Five Programs. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, November 2013. Also available in print form.
These "Stories from the Field" describe five Wallace-funded programs working to expand learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children, so they can benefit from the types of opportunities their wealthier counterparts have access to, from homework help to swimming classes. The report details each program's approach, successes and challenges, offering a well-rounded picture of the effort nationally to expand learning opportunities for low-income children — and the work that remains.
Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Review of the Evidence Base
Redd, Zakia; Boccanfuso, Christopher; Walker, Karen; Princiotta, Daniel; Knewstub, Dylan; and Moore, Kristin. Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Review of the Evidence Base. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, August 2012. Also available in print form.
This report reviews some 80 studies of initiatives to lengthen the school day or year or offer learning opportunities outside of school hours. Most of the studies lack the rigor needed for firm evidence of the impact of expanded time efforts on children, the report emphasizes. But the slim evidence available suggests that extending school time can help raise academic achievement, while out-of-school opportunities can boost "precursors" to achievement, such as educational expectations. And in all cases, program quality and implementation "matter a great deal."
Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar
Farbman, D. (2011). Learning time in America: Trends to reform the American school calendar. Boston, MA: National Center on Time & Learning .
This report shows that while some states and local governments have reduced learning time in response to severe budget pressures — typically by reducing the number of days in the school year — others have prioritized expanding learning time to better prepare students for success in high school, college and the workforce. Schools, school districts, and states around the country are developing and implementing innovative and cost-effective ways to expand learning time for students in an effort to boost students' academic achievement and provide a well-rounded education, according to the most comprehensive study of time and learning policies ever conducted.
Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools
Kaplan, Claire, and Roy Chan. Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools. Rep. Boston: National Center on Time & Learning, 2011.
This report reshapes the field for expanded-time schools by outlining specific practices that can lead to dramatic increases in student achievement and preparation for success in college and the workforce. Time Well Spent offers an in-depth examination of 30 expanded-time schools serving high-poverty populations with impressive track records of student success, and demonstrates how these schools leverage their additional time in order to implement other critical reforms.
Tracking an Emerging Movement: A Report on Expanded-Time Schools in America
Farbman, D.A. (2009). Tracking an Emerging Movement: A Report on Expanded-Time Schools in America. Boston, MA: National Center on Time and Learning.
This article presents a report on expanded-time (ET) schools in America produced by the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL). Extracting and analyzing information from NCTL's database of 655 schools, this report describes trends emerging among these schools, including issues related to costs, time use, and student outcomes. The searchable database is available at www.timeandlearning.org. Though findings cannot be considered conclusive — the field of expanded-time schools is too new and decentralized to be confident that the database is fully representative — they do highlight the relatively widespread use and potential benefits of expanded time. Data analysis suggests a positive relationship between student achievement and school time. The characteristics of expanded-time schools and trends in teacher and student time are discussed.
Structuring Out-of-School Time to Improve Academic Achievement
Beckett, M., Borman, G., Capizzano, J., Parsley, D., Ross, S., Schirm, A., & Taylor, J. (2009). Structuring out-of-school time to improve academic achievement: A practice guide (NCEE #2009-012). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides.
Out-of-school time programs can enhance academic achievement by helping students learn outside the classroom. The five recommendations in this guide are intended to help district and school administrators, out-of-school program providers, and educators design out-of-school time programs that will increase learning for students. The guide also describes the research supporting each recommendation, how to carry out each recommendation, and how to address roadblocks that might arise in implementing them.
Lessons Learned From the CORAL Initiative: Advancing Achievement: Findings from an Independent Evaluation of a Major After-School Initiative
Arbreton, A., Sheldon, J., Bradshaw, M., Goldsmith, J., Jucovy, L., and Pepper, S. (2008). Lessons learned from the CORAL initiative — Advancing Achievement: Findings from an Independent Evaluation of a Major After-School Initiative. Oakland, CA: The James Irvine Foundation and Public/Private Ventures.
This evaluation of CORAL — Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning, an after-school program in five California cities — finds a relationship between high quality literacy programming and academic gains. It also highlights the role that quality out-of-school-time programs play in the ongoing drive to improve academic achievement.
On the Clock: Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time
Silva, E. (2007). On the clock: Rethinking the way schools use time. Washington, DC: Education Sector.
This report examines both the educational and political dimensions of time reform. It presents the findings of a wide range of research on time reform, discusses the impact of various time reforms on the life of schools and beyond, and makes recommendations for policymakers about how to best leverage time in and out of school to improve student achievement.
Leading After-School Learning Communities
National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. (2006). Leading After-School Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do. Washington DC: National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals.
By collaborating with afterschool programs and accepting them as vital partners in education, principals can strengthen their schools and move closer to the overriding, common goal of maximizing learning for every child.
Essential Elements of Quality After-School Programs
Hammond, C. and Reimer, M. (2006). Essential Elements of Quality After-School Programs. Alexandria, VA: Communities In Schools (CIS)
This report, commissioned by Communities In Schools from the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University, reviews existing research to identify afterschool programs that have been found through scientific studies to be effective and the core elements that contributed to their effectiveness.
Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners
Institute of Museum and Library Services (2012). Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners. Developed in partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
This report calls upon policymakers, practitioners, and parents to make full use of libraries and museums, and the skills and talents of those who work in them, to close knowledge and opportunity gaps and give all children a strong start in learning. The type of learning that occurs in these institutions — self-directed, experiential, content-rich — promotes executive function skills that can shape a child’s success in school and life.