Argument: Year-round schools, with equal vacation time, is no better for learning
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"Year-round Schools Don't Boost Learning, Study Finds". Science Daily. 14 Aug. 2007 - ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2007) — Students in “year-round” schools don't learn more than their peers in traditional nine-month schools, new research has found.
A sociologist at Ohio State University found that, over a full year, math and reading test scores improved about the same amount for children in year-round schools as they did for students whose schools followed a traditional nine-month calendar.
"We found that students in year-round schools learn more during the summer, when others are on vacation, but they seem to learn less than other children during the rest of the year," said Paul von Hippel, author of the study and research statistician in sociology at Ohio State.
The problem with year-round schools may be that they don't actually add more school days to the 180 typically required, von Hippel said. Instead of a three-month summer vacation, year-round schools typically have several breaks of three to four weeks spread throughout the year. The total number of school days and vacation days remains unchanged, but they are distributed more evenly over the calendar.
Although school districts often adopt year-round schedules to help alleviate overcrowding, some educators have claimed that eliminating the long summer vacation will provide academic benefits for students.
“The results don't support that claim,” von Hippel said.
Von Hippel presented his results Aug. 11 in New York City at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
[...]Von Hippel said he was able to take into account issues such as poverty and overcrowding when comparing scores to ensure that comparisons between test scores in year-round and traditional schools were fair.
Reading and math tests were given to students at the beginning and end of kindergarten and first grade; comparing these test scores allowed von Hippel to estimate the amount learned during kindergarten, during the summer between kindergarten and first grade, and first grade.
Over a twelve-month period, average test score gains were less than 1 percent larger in year-round than in nine month schools – which von Hippel said is “an absolutely trivial difference.”
[...]“On the other hand, if a school is considering a year-round calendar in hope of boosting academic achievement, it seems unlikely that those hopes will be realized,” von Hippel said.
Merino, B.J. (1983) The impact of year-round schooling: A review. Urban Education. - "Most studies found no significant differences between the two types of schedules with two actually showing negative effects for year-round schooling."