Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: Will a Longer School Day and Year Better Prepare Students for Success?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers if instituting a longer school day and year will better prepare students for success in college and the workforce.

The concept of the longer school day or year in the U.S. has developed a strong following and is being implemented or discussed in a variety of educational settings, from charters schools (many of which deliberately expand beyond conventional school time trying to catch students up to grade level) to innovative public high schools experimenting with alternative schedules. In addition, with the wide adoption of Common Core State Standards, there may very well be the need to spend more time learning to reach a higher degree of proficiency required by the new standards. A variety of organizations has developed resources to explore or support the longer day or year for U.S. schools. One such organization, the National Center on Time & Learning, recently conducted research on the general public's attitude toward more school time. In this week's poll question, we sought to determine if the education audience shares the attitudes of the general public.

Interestingly, the ASCD SmartBrief readers who responded are less favorable toward the ability of more school time to better prepare students for college and career. Of the general public, 32 percent agreed that more time will better prepare them, while among these educators, 19 percent strongly agreed in the effectiveness of more school time. Overall, as many participants disagreed with this statement as agreed.

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 796 readers, starting on January 16, 2014. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.

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