The recent editorial supporting longer school days is based on an educational myth that more is better. This myth that more time means more learning is revealed in a report on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in USA Today, April 12, 1995: Students actually get more instructional time in the classroom than their peers in 15 other Western countries.
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, the standard source for international comparisons, has consistently concluded since 1964 that the total of instructional hours during a school year has no significant relationship to achievement. Their data show that except for foreign language instructions, increasing classroom time for specific subjects is not likely to improve performance of American students.
Not well known is that the Japanese have been moving to decrease in-school time and develop more well-rounded students.
Marzano (2002) emphasizes: "Schools should drastically reduce the amount of content teachers are required to address in class." Such findings suggest that the emphasis should be placed on the quality, rather than the quantity, of the time spent in school. Eating is good, but eating more is not necessarily the answer.
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Rog Lucido, Adjunct Faculty, Fresno Pacific University, Assessment Reform Network, Central Valley Coordinator, Fresno