Calendar Effects

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Science  09 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6061, pp. 1324
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6061.1324-c

Does the organization of the school calendar affect student learning? Year-round schooling, which distributes school days with short, frequent breaks, is becoming more popular because it is thought to prevent the summer learning loss that occurs under a more traditional school calendar. Using longitudinal data from California public schools over a 9-year period, Graves examined the effect of year-round school calendars on nationally standardized test performance of traditionally disadvantaged students. Analysis showed that year-round calendars, especially multitrack year-round calendars in which the student body is never all in attendance at the same time, have a larger negative impact on the lower end of the distribution of scores, with Hispanics/Latinos and low–socioeconomic status students experiencing a larger fall in performance than the overall population. African American students are more negatively affected than the overall student population with respect to reading. Policy-makers take note: These results present an additional cost of implementing year-round calendars.

Econ. Educ. Rev. 30, 1281 (2011).

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