4 Day School Weeks: New Research Examines Pros and Cons

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Discussion has been resurfacing about the Pros and Cons of a 4 Day School Week. The chatter is getting louder.

As Stephen Sawchuk shares in a recent Education Week article, the move from a five-day school week to a four-day week with extended days has been one of the fastest-increasing—and least-studied—phenomena shaping district operations.

The four-day week is enormously popular among parents and students, the new research finds. It typically saves districts a small—but not intangible—amount of cash. And on their day out of school, students are typically working, doing errands, or spending time with family, not running wild.

The tradeoff for those benefits, though, shows in learning. Several years after adopting a four-day schedule, the researchers found, those districts saw slower rates of student progress than similarly situated districts that retained a five-day schedule.

Among some of the most important findings:

  • When timing was added up, districts in the sample using the four-day schedule had longer days by about 50 minutes, but over the course of the year averaged 58 fewer hours of school.
  • Students in the four-day weeks spent significantly more time on school sports and on chores than did those in five-day weeks. Four-day secondary students also spent more time on homework, at jobs, at school activities, and on hobbies than their counterparts.
  • Most students in the four-day districts—80 percent of high school students and 90 percent of elementary students—spent their “off day” at home.
  • The four-day week did not appear to affect student-absenteeism rates or result in more food insecurity for students.
  • It did seem to change some sleep patterns, with four-day elementary students reporting that they got more sleep and four-day secondary students saying that they felt much less tired than their counterparts in five-day systems.
  • Parents and students, given the choice, overwhelmingly said they favored the four-day model, with 69 percent of the former and 85 percent of the latter preferring it over five-day schedules.

Read the complete article HERE 

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]