The Effects of Block Scheduling on the Quality of Education at Two Senior High Schools
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In 1995, the focus school district in southeastern Wisconsin began the implementation of the 4x4 block schedule at two comprehensive high schools. Block scheduling is a method of scheduling which allows for longer class periods, fewer class periods in a day, and more classes in a school year. The schools in this study went from seven 45 minute periods a day to four 90 minute periods. Instead of the traditional two semester, four quarter school year, there is now a four semester, eight quarter year. In this study the researcher examines the effects of block scheduling, its advantages and disadvantages, as perceived by students and teachers at both schools. Data were obtained through surveys composed of close-ended questions in a Likert scale format. There was space available for voluntary, additional comments. Six hundred students and 250 teachers were surveyed. The return rate was 51% and 53%, respectively. Results indicate there are pluses and minuses to block scheduling. Teachers and students do obtain some advantages: fewer classes, less homework, longer class time, and more choices in classes. There are also some disadvantages: shorter grading periods, more students in a year, longer class periods, long gaps between classes, difficulty with absences and make up work, and more work to be done at home. These results are congruent with a number of studies (cited in this paper) conducted in districts throughout the United States-Appleton, WI (Lindsay, 2001); Angola, IN, 1995; the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 1996; the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota (Freeman & Maruyama, 1995)--and in British Columbia, Canada (Gore, 1997).
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