Block Scheduling

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UNION UNIVERSITY

THE IMPACT OF BLOCK SCHEDULING VERSUS TRADITIONAL SCHEDULING ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT  

A REVIEW OF LITERATURE
SUBITTED TO DR. BENNY TUCKER

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF

EDU 675 CAPSTONE RESEARCH SEMINAR

BY

LELA BINGHAM

MAY 9, 2012

Chapter 1
Introduction

As administrators and educators have researched ways to use time more productively, major changes have been occurring in high school schedules. Within the context of education reform, one of the attributes of the traditional educational system that has been a focus for systemic change has been the use of time (Trenta & Newman, 2002). In Nichols’ (2005) research, it’s noted that one of the most important concerns expressed in A Nation at Risk report was related to how effectively classroom instruction time was being utilized in America’s schools. Evans, Tokarczyk, Rice & McCray (2002) indicated that this report offered many recommendations for school reform initiatives, including restructuring for more effective use of school time and increased concentration on core academic subjects. According to Lawrence and McPherson (2000), administrators and teachers in America have been criticized regarding the poor use of school time since the 1980’s (p. 178). Maltese, Dexter, Tai, and Sadler (2007) found that approximately 66.7% of high school graduates from the class of 2004 enrolled in colleges or universities, the importance of high school as a means to prepare students for a successful college experience is essential (p. 1). According to Zepeda and Mayers (2006), “as the accountability bar rises, schools continue to explore avenues for increasing student achievement, and school leaders have examined new teaching methods, emerging technologies, and alternate scheduling patterns to improve the teaching and learning processes” (p.137). Nichols (2005) states that in response to A Nation at Risk report, many concerned educators and community leaders at all levels argued that schools should increase the length of the school day and the school year and simultaneously restructure the traditional daily schedule. Trenta & Newman (2002) wrote that while some efforts have focused on seeking ways to add time to the academic year and the academic day, other efforts have focused on maximizing the time already in the calendar (p. 54). As schools seek to determine the most effective teaching strategies to increase student achievement, Zepeda and Mayers (2001) says one especially attractive option has been block scheduling. This scheduling is in effect in approximately 30 percent of the nation’s secondary schools. What is block-scheduling? “Block-scheduling is a method of scheduling the six-hour school day into “blocks” of class time. Sometimes referred to as Extended-Period Schedules, block scheduling is supported by advocates because it keeps students in class for longer periods of time, reduces the amount students spend transitioning between classes, and gives students and teachers more opportunities to get to know each other (www.education.com).” Rettig (2005) indicated that the most common type of class schedule used in America’s secondary schools is the traditional schedule, whereby classes usually meet daily and students attend six, seven, or eight classes per day (Two Leading…, para. 1). According to Queen (2000), there are necessary steps and they remain imperative for schools examining the possibility of moving to a block scheduling (p. 221). Gruber and Onwuegbuzie (2001) reported that an increase in block scheduling in the past decade has been attributed to factors such as the input from the business community calling for “fundamental change” in education (p. 33). Although block-scheduling has been discussed for a few decades, it has become a subject of considerable debate. There is a plethora of factors to impact student’s achievement but this research will focus on classroom scheduling. The purpose...
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