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The Efficiency Of Year Round Education

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As times change and society evolves, customs and practices must evolve with them. An example of tradition conflicting with functionality is the idea that public schools are to be in session for nine consecutive months with a three-month break. The explanation is needed, as to why public school in session year round is a more efficient way to use time and resources than is a nine/three school year.

The most important aspect of grasping the new age thought of year round education is to realize it does not mean more school. The original thought of year round school is to go one hundred eighty days, with shorter breaks throughout the year. This is opposed to a single large break at the end of the year. There are a few different ways to allocate the free time into the schedule. The most widely used method is 45/15, which means students would attend school for forty-five days then have a fifteen-day break. With such a system, teachers would spend far less time reviewing information, since much learning loss happens in the long three months of summer.

Single tracking is a way to keep education consistent. This system keeps the students and faculty on the same vacation and instructional schedule. The single-track method does not add days to the year or help with overcrowding. It works by shortening the length of the summer break, and distributing that time throughout the year in periods called intersessions. (Web Staff) It would be equivalent to winter break, but several times throughout the year.

Multi-tracking is a method of using the vacation and intersession cycles to alleviate overcrowding. For example, a school with a 750 person capacity could be used to accommodate one thousand students. This is done by dividing the students and faculty into four equal groups, or tracks, and always having one group on break during every school day. (Kelly)

While multitracking is a viable option to help with school overcrowding, there are a few drawbacks. For instance, the interfamily scheduling problems can be very hectic. For example, a family with three children may have each of them on a different track. An arrangement like this would make it nearly impossible to schedule a family event, or daycare. Scheduling within a district can also be troublesome. All students in a particular activity must be on the same track, or there would be problems scheduling practice times and games. (Going to School Year Round)

There are people who are skeptical as to whether there is any research to show that the arrangement of the school calendar makes any difference overall to the learning of students. Yes, evidence is present and it is quite convincing.

The research has two main divisions. The first deals with the loss of learning during the summer months. Educational research clearly shows that there is learning loss brought on during the onslaught of summer vacation in a traditional calendar year. The most widely accepted study in this field was done at the University of Missouri, Columbia, headed by Dr. Harris Cooper. In non-technical language, the study showed that summer learning loss is not a myth. All students, even those with the highest marks, were shown to have lost math and spelling skills. Some, though not all, even showed a decrease in reading skills over the summer. Based on this research, it would be impossible for any educator of moral standing to defend a calendar that allowed for so much loss, for any reason other than as a choice for those parents who prioritize lifestyle over learning. (NAYRE)

The second portion of the research is focused on whether doing things differently with calendar arrangement makes a difference. There are two main studies to analyze. The first is by a woman named Dr. Carolyn Kneese, who is a professor at Texas A&M. Dr. Kneese's conclusion after the review of six-research synthesis and thirty individual studies was, "In summary, one may conclude from this particular review of achievement studiers that there is an effective maintenance and improvement of the overall academic performance of students participating in a year-round education program in comparison to those on the traditional calendar." Please note two key words: maintenance and improvement. The term maintenance is referring to the preservation of knowledge already obtained, and improvement is adding to that wealth of information. The University of Missouri, Columbia, again headed by Dr. Harris Cooper, published the second study. After looking at over four hundred studies about year round education, with a focus on thirty-nine separate school districts, Dr. Cooper and the team discovered that the effect was small,



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