New Report Finds U.S. School Instructional Time Similar to High-performing Countries
Latest Center for Public Education report reviews time U.S. students spend in school
compared to other countries
Alexandria, Va. (December 12, 2011) - Most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea; according to a new report on instructional time released by the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education.
The report, "Time in School," measured the minimum number of hours of instruction per year (also known as compulsory hours) countries require their public schools to provide in a formal classroom setting. In the U.S., most states require between 175 and 180 days of school and/or between 900 and 1,000 hours of instructional time per year, depending on the grade level.
"There is a perception among policymakers and the public that U.S. students spend less time in school than students in other countries," said Jim Hull, the Center's Senior Policy Analyst and author of the report. "The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, however these comparisons are based on required minimums. It's possible that certain schools in these countries and states do provide more time for instruction. Furthermore, students in countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea have a tradition of receiving additional instruction through non-formal schooling such as tutoring and night schools, especially at the high school level, which could also have an impact."
Hull stressed that the relationship between time and student learning is not about the amount of time spent in school. Rather, it is how effectively that time is used. The report also showed that there is no relationship between simply requiring more time and increased achievement. The data showed that a number of countries that require fewer hours of instruction outperform the U.S., while the U.S. performs as well as or better than some other countries that require more hours of instruction.
"Providing additional time can be an effective tool for improving student outcomes, but how that time is used is most important," Hull said.
Total Compulsory Hours of Instruction by Country
Hours of Instruction by State
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The Center for Public Education (www.centerforpubliceducation.org) is a national resource for credible and practical information about public education and its importance to the well-being of our nation. The Center provides up-to-date research, data, and analysis on current education issues and explores ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for public schools. The Center is an initiative of the National School Boards Association.
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Working with and through our state associations, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. www.nsba.org