Report Finds Longer School Days Beneficial

Education 07.26,10

A report released by Mathematica Policy Research finds that the extended learning time at Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools helps their students outperform their counterparts at other public schools.  Twenty-two KIPP middle schools were observed, including two in Washington, D.C.

On average, KIPP students spend about 600 more hours a year in the classroom than students who attend traditional public schools.  A regular school day at KIPP is from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and additional class time is often added on Saturdays. KIPP students enrolled for three or more years showed significant improvement in math as a result of the added instructional time.  The report found that during their three years in KIPP schools, students achieved an average academic gain equivalent to five years of instruction. 

KIPP spokesman Steve Mancini said that a common need expressed by teachers is for more instructional time, and the extra hours allow them “to turn ‘or’ into ‘and'” when it comes to deciding what to teach.

The Obama administration also recognizes the impact extended learning time has on student success and has placed significant emphasis on it in its “Blueprint for Reform” plan for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).