Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study: Students on Block Schedule Do Worse on Tests; Verbal, Math SAT Scores Higher for Non-Block Scheduling Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study: Students on Block Schedule Do Worse on Tests; Verbal, Math SAT Scores Higher for Non-Block Scheduling Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- Students in block scheduling do worse on some standardized tests than those on more traditional daily calendars, according to a report issued by the state Department of Education, but what that says about school schedules is still a matter for debate.

The study looked at differences in test scores between schools that have block scheduling, in which a students take four, 90-minutes classes a day, and non-block scheduling that was widely used before the first Georgia public school began the other format in the 1994-95 school year.

While the study seemed to indicate that test scores were lower in schools with block scheduling, there were also signs that those switching from non-block schedules to block scheduling saw about the same change in performance as schools that stuck with the more traditional format.

Superintendent Kathy Cox said the report gave no indications that block scheduling affected children's performance.

"It seems to be having no effect on overall achievement of students," she said.

But Linda Zechmann, who represents Southeast Georgia on the state Board of Education, disagreed. She said more information was needed, including more thorough comparisons of schools based on geography and demographics.

"I think there are more issues around this," Zechmann said.

Cox and others said more studies were coming, including information on how students at various schools fared on the tests given to each student statewide at the end of courses in several grades.

"I think, as we get more information and more data . . . then I think we'll be in a better position to say this is a good or bad thing," Cox said.

According to the report, block scheduling schools saw significantly lower student scores on the SAT, meant to measure a students readiness for college, and the Advanced Placement tests that students can take for extra credit. …

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