Cross-National Educational Inequalities and Opportunities to Learn: Conflicting Views of Instructional Time
Issue/Topic: Scheduling/School Calendar--Year
Author(s): Long, Daniel
Organization(s): Wesleyan University
Publication: Educational Policy
Published On: 5/8/2014
Education reformers use international evidence to argue that increasing the number of days in school and length of the school day will improve academic achievement. However, the international data used to support these claims (1999 Third International Math and Science Survey and 2000 Program for International Student Assessment or PISA) show no correlation between time in school and achievement.
To re-examine the effects of instructional time using improved measures of instructional time, a more extensive data set (2006 PISA), and a more nuanced multilevel model
- International evidence is consistent with the claims that it is not total amount of time that is important for instruction, but how this time is used.
- Representative sample selection and specific uses of time in school have a strong influence on conclusions about the effectiveness of instructional time.
- The PISA 2006 survey shows a very strong effect of subject-specific instructional time even after controlling for socioeconomic status and school factors.
- Perhaps because of improved instructional time measures, the 2006 PISA data show that increases in instructional time could dramatically reduce achievement inequalities between high and low socioeconomic students such that one additional hour of math or reading instructional time per week would be equivalent to a six-year difference in years of parents' education.
- An increase in instructional time could dramatically reduce cross-national achievement inequalities, according to the 2006 PISA data.
- We need a much closer examination of the use of time during the school day in the United States and internationally to determine the effectiveness of increasing instructional time and to avoid wasting resources on a potentially inefficient intervention.
2000: 122,220 students in 6,002 schools in 40 countries 2006: 375,583 students in 13,861 schools in 52 countries
Year data is from:
Data Collection and Analysis:
PISA math and reading data from 2000 and 2006 were compared using a three-level model based on country, school and student traits. Analysis identified conflicting conclusions that appear to be caused by use of better measures of instructional time.
Reference in this Web site to any specific commercial products, processes or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Education Commission of the States. Please contact Jennifer Thomsen at 303-299-3633 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information regarding the information posting standards and user policies of the Education Commission of the States.