Time in Seats Does Not Equal Subject Mastery

For years we have heard the argument that adding hours to the school day would allow more in-depth learning and knowledge retention. But children in a traditional classroom already spent six to eight hours, on average, in a school building. Would adding additional hours equal better educational outcomes?

We don’t believe so. An article from Walden University agrees: “While studies have found that longer instruction time can improve achievement, the correlation is not exact and depends on other factors, such as classroom environment, quality of instruction, and student ability.In short, it’s likely that longer school days won’t be an effective way to raise achievement without other factors already being in place. Supporting this notion is the fact that U.S. teachers already spend more time in the classroom than most other developed nations,many of which have higher student achievement.”

A shorter school day could open a world of possibilities and benefits for children in and out of the classroom.

1. Time to Explore Outside Interests
Students in a traditional classroom sometimes feel as if there aren’t enough hours in a day to squeeze in outside interests while also maintaining a high academic standard. This dilemma forces students to choose between their passion and their education – a choice no student should ever have to make. Many students at Xceed are elite athletes; they have found that the non-traditional hybrid teaching method allowed them to simultaneously earn good grades and compete in championships around the world.

2. Additional Sleep
According to John Hopkins, teens experience a natural shift in their circadian rhythm that makes it difficult to fall asleep before 11 p.m. And while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., most U.S. schools start between 7:45 and 8 a.m. So, when you add a natural teen shift in their sleep cycle too early school start times and any extracurricular activities – most teens are sleep deprived.

3. Improved Student Engagement
A literature review at the University of Northern Iowa from 2017 revealed that hybrid learning increased student engagement and achievement. Hybrid learning allows students to have more control over the time, place and pace of their education. When given these choices, students are more motivated to complete a task and perform better.

4. Increased Time with Family
Families play a crucial role in the development of students. Time spent with family helps build confidence, improves communication skills, reduces behavioral issues and improves school performance. Hybrid learning offers students the opportunity to schedule their classes and assignments in a way that allows for more time to be spent with their families.

These are just a handful of benefits of a hybrid education model. Still, no matter what benefits are shown, we will continue to hear government agencies and educators alike proposing longer school days. But even research indicates that a longer school day does not necessarily result in better academic performance or higher achievement rates.

A study by the National Center on Education and Economy in 2018 concluded that “There is no consistent pattern for number of days of school per year, length of school breaks, or even length of an average school day among top-performing education systems. This suggests that when it comes to student performance, more important than the amount of time students spend in class is how that time is spent.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the eyes of many to the benefits of shifting to a hybrid education model, but it’s a shift that is moving far too slowly. The call for the transformation of the education system in the U.S. needs to be taken up by every educator and education institution; only then will we see real change that benefits students.