Policy Factsheet

Modified School Calendars

Reasons for Policy

  • Long summer vacation breaks may lead to poor information retention and lower academic scores. 2
  • Children that speak a language other than English at home may lose the English skills they learned during the school year while on a long summer break. 2
  • The United States has one of the lowest number of school days among industrialized nations. 2

Community Groups

  • Local Government
  • Local Private/Charter Schools
  • Local School Board
  • Local School District
  • Parent Teacher's Association
  • School Counselors
  • School District
  • School Officers
  • Teacher's Union

Policy Components

  • Modified calendar schedule (e.g., 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off; 12 weeks on, 4 weeks off)
  • Educational activities offered during intersession

Desired Outcomes

  • Improved information retention
  • Increased achievement scores
  • Improved attitude toward school
  • Improved accessibility to remedial and/or enrichment programs during breaks

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science. 1

The levels of effectiveness as noted are: 1 = meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design); 2 = consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only; 3 = insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

The following summary of achievable results is based on a published review of the scientific evidence.

On average, a modified school calendar can achieve:

  • Small improvements in academic achievement scores (effect size: 0.11) 2

More than 80% of teachers, parents, students, administrators and staff favor a modified school calendar. 2

Community Examples

Links to Policy Examples

Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding existing laws that may impede new policy development.

References


  1. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.
     

  2. Cooper H, Valentine JC, Charlton K, Melson A (2003). The effects of modified school calendars on student achievement and on school and community attitudes. Review of Educational Research, 73(1), 1-52.