- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
More school hours don’t guarantee better test scores
Study weighs global figures
Time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Students who spend more hours in the classroom aren’t guaranteed higher test scores, and many nations that outpace the U.S. on standardized reading and math assessments keep their children in school for much less time, according to a report from the National School Boards Association.
“There is a perception among policymakers and the public that U.S. students spend less time in school. The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries,” said Jim Hull, senior policy analyst at the NSBA’s Center for Public Education.
The findings challenge a popular theme in education debates, one espoused by federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“Right now, children in India … they’re going to school 30, 35 days more than our students,” he said at an education forum in September, explaining one reason he thinks the American education system is falling behind those of global competitors.
“Anybody who thinks we need less time, not more, is part of the problem,” Mr. Duncan said.
While Mr. Duncan is technically correct that Indian students have a longer school year when measured in days, they spend fewer hours in class than almost all their American counterparts.
India requires 800 “instructional hours” at the elementary level, well below the thresholds mandated by most states. Florida and New York require 900 classroom hours for elementary students. California calls for 840, while the Texas school year lasts 1,260 hours, the report states.
There is no federally mandated number of hours in a school year, and the figures differ greatly from state to state. Eight states require less than 800 hours for elementary-school-age children, the report says.
South Korea, which boasts some of the highest scores on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, keeps its elementary students in class for 703 hours. Hungarian elementary students, who score only a few points below their peers in the U.S., attend school for 601 hours each year, the second-lowest among the 24 nations in the study — almost all wealthy First World countries.
As in most other nations, the school year is longer for U.S. high school students than their elementary counterparts. They spend, on average, about 1,000 hours in class each year.
In Poland, high school students need 595 hours in the classroom, the lowest of all the countries in the study, yet they top U.S. students on the math and science portions of the PISA exams, the most widely used measuring sticks for international comparisons.
Finland, Norway, Australia and other nations also show higher levels of student achievement while requiring less instruction.
The reverse is also true. Mexico requires its high school students to spend 1,058 hours in class annually, but Mexican students perform much worse on international tests. France has mandated a 1,048-hour school year, but the extra time has resulted in scores roughly equal to those of U.S. students.
Mr. Duncan made the India comparison in Washington at a Sept. 30 forum co-sponsored by the National Center on Time and Learning, which advocates for more schooling as one way to cure to the nation’s educational ills.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama calls on bartenders to help sell health care reform
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
- Obama: 'We're not going back' on Obamacare
- Obama to take second swing at health care reform pitch
- Common Core education supporters want Obama administration to shut up
Latest Blog Entries
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.