Does it really matter how much time we spend at school? Apparently, yes. A new study performed in the US suggests that a 4-day school week for primary school pupils will not only be harmless to academic performance but will also boost test scores. The findings were published in the journal Education, Finance and Policy.
The researchers of the new study aimed at finding out how the 4-day school week would affect reading and maths scores of pupils of 4 to 5 years of age.
The results showed that reading ability of the pupils was not changed because of the shortened week. Furthermore, one day less at school seemed to have been positive on the students: the test scores for maths proved to be considerably higher.
Normally, 55.5 % of the students would obtain top scores in maths tests; following the release of the results it was seen that the change in number of days at school was associated with an increase: up to 63.1 % of the students would begin to have higher scores. Over time, this reached 72 %.
Several schools in Colorado, and Wyoming, are currently working on a 4-day-week basis. The number of hours have remained the same, but made to fit 4 days at school. Schools from other states are also considering implementing this measure. The study results, therefore, come in handy.
“What interested me about our results is they were completely opposite to what we anticipated,” said Mary Beth Walker, one of the authors. “We thought that especially for the younger, elementary school kids, longer days on a shorter school week would hurt their academic performance because their attention spans are shorter. Also, a longer weekend would give them more opportunity to forget what they had learned.”
Also, it seems that this is also beneficial to teachers.
“My own personal hypothesis is teachers liked it so much – they were so enthusiastic about the four-day week – they did a better job,” said Walker. “There’s some evidence in other labour studies that four-day work weeks enhance productivity.”