Via de wekelijkse nieuwsbrief “Best Evidence in Brief” van het Center for Research and Reform in Education ontdekte ik de volgende Amerikaanse studie waarin werd nagegaan wat de impact is van een vroege start van de schooldag op de resultaten van jonge leerlingen.
“Do early school start times lead to poor elementary performance?
A study of 718 elementary schools in Kentucky examined associations between school start times and performance and revealed that – at least for children from better-off families – earlier start times in elementary school were associated with poorer school performance.
The research started out with two main hypotheses: that early start times would be associated with underperformance, and children from poorer backgrounds would show the greatest disadvantage.
Key findings included:
- Earlier start times were associated with poorer test scores, lower school rank, and more absences from school.
- Schools with fewer children who qualify for subsidized meals showed a significant relationship between early start times and poor performance.
- Later start times were associated with more children being retained for a repeat school year (the authors think theirs is the first study to look at this issue and suggest caution over this finding).
Much of the previous research on school start times and learning considers the effect on older children. The authors reported that the current study offers some of the first evidence that early school start times may influence learning in elementary school. They warned that policies that delay start times for middle and high schools at the expense of earlier starts for elementary schools may merely shift a problem to younger children.
The authors were surprised that their analysis revealed that later start times did not seem to benefit poorer children and suggested that “the delay in start times may not be sufficient to overcome the numerous other obstacles that children in poverty face, including obstacles to obtaining adequate sleep.”
The study controlled for variables such as teacher-student ratio, student ethnicity, and location.”
Adequate sleep is essential for child learning. However, school systems may inadvertently be promoting sleep deprivation through early school start times. The current study examines the potential implications of early school start times for standardized test scores in public elementary schools in Kentucky. Associations between early school start time and poorer school performance were observed primarily for schools serving few students who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches. Associations were controlled for teacher–student ratio, racial composition, and whether the school was in the Appalachian region. Findings support the growing body of research showing that early school start times may influence student learning but offer some of the first evidence that this influence may occur for elementary school children and depend on school characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)