Although the four-day school week schedule is not a new phenomenon, it has seen unprecedented growth in its adoption over the past two decades, reaching 662 public school districts in 24 states in 2019. Prior limited research shows that the schedule reduces school expenditures by a small amount but doesn’t affect the attendance among students in grades 3-8. In a recent working paper published by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, the author assessed the impact of the four-day school week policy in Oklahoma on high school students’ attendance, achievement, and school discipline.
The author employed district-level high school data from Oklahoma and a quasi-experimental research method to provide a rigorous analysis of the effect of the four-day school week on high school students’ attendance. Results indicate that
- Four-day school weeks have no significant effect on either math and English ACT scores as well as high school attendance rates.
- Findings indicate positive impacts on school discipline, with reductions in bullying, fighting, and assaults.
- Other types of disciplinary infractions, such as vandalism and drugs did not show any significant impacts.
While 29% of four-day week districts from a national sample of four-day school week districts say that attendance is their primary driver to adopt this schedule, this this study suggests adopting a four-day school week schedule may not improving attendance but may have other positive impacts of interest to schools.
Source (Open Access): Morton, Emily. (2021). Effects of four-day school weeks on adolescents: Examining impacts of the schedule on academic achievement, attendance, and behavior in high school. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-416). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/y2qy-ea03