To extend the school day or not to extend the school day, does it matter?

Attention is being directed towards the effect of extended school time of students’ academic performance especially for K-12 grades. Proponents of the intervention argue that it can improve academic achievement. On the other hand, opponents argue that the intervention doesn’t guarantee any academic gains. After a comprehensive literature review, this paper concludes that although extended learning time can improve academic performance while at the same time reducing the disparity between children from the poor economic background and those who are financially advantaged, supporting evidence is weak and limited. The author concludes that quality not the quantity of instruction time in school determines students’ academic performance.

  1. Introduction

Time matters when it comes to learning. One must spend time in a given area in order to succeed. This is similar to chess players who play many matches in their game. This is why the debate has emerged in the relationship between the amount of instructional time and academic performance. Many studies have been conducted on this debate. Some suggest that extended learning time is beneficial while others find no significant relationship between the two variables. This has led to arguments for and arguments against extended learning time. Proponents of the intervention argue that extended learning time is advantageous to students, ELT is beneficial especially for disadvantaged children, increased learning time improves academic performance, and more learning time is better for students.

Opponents of the intervention argue that there lacks relationship between test scores and time spent in school, extending learning time is not cost-effective, positive effect of ELT fade away after time, there is limited evidence on the benefits of ELT on students’ performance, and the relationship between students’ achievement and in-school time is unreliable. This paper discusses different viewpoints on ELT, examines the literature review on the issue and concludes with the author’s preferred practice. While extended learning time can improve academic performance while at the same time reducing the disparity between children from the poor economic background and those who are financially advantaged, supporting evidence is weak and limited. Quality not the quantity of instruction time in school determines K-12 students’ academic performance.

  • Points of view on extended learning time

The relationship between the time spent in school and its effect on student’s achievement has attracted much debate. Policymakers, parents, and educators are now more interested in the topic. The debate, as usual, has two sides. There is a group of proponents and the other one of the opponents. The proponents argue that extending school time is beneficial to students and to the community as well. Extended learning time is among the measures assumed to enhance academic achievement for students (Biddle & Mette, 2016). Clearly, time matters when it comes to learning.

Proponents argue that there is a powerful association between better students’ outcomes and more time spend in school. They argue that students who participate in ELT experience reduced unsafe behaviors after school, reduced crime rate, increased physical health, and rarely drop out of school. Those who are largely impacted are children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This group lag behind their colleagues because they are unable to access learning resources at home (Biddle & Mette, 2016). Enabling them to access additional in-school time, would give them opportunities for expanded learning and growth. Additionally, proponents argue that additional learning time enables students to develop social and emotional skills.

On the other hand, opponents of extended learning time argue that; first, it is the quality of time spent in school that determines the performance of students. They argue that the average time set that students should spend in school is enough if well-utilized. The problem is that this time is not properly used for instructional activities.  Therefore there would be no need of adding more time if the already available is not helping. Second, adding more time in schools means adding more resources (Cooper et al., 2010). Opponents of the intervention argue that the cost of education is already high to add more expenditures. This is considering that there are other effective interventions that are cost-effective.

Third, the intervention is largely effective for disadvantaged students. It should therefore not be forced on everybody. More affluent students don’t really need this extra time in school. Fourth, the relationship between the intervention and students’ achievement has proven to be little or insignificant. Therefore, the intervention should not be implemented. Rather, better strategies should be developed. Additionally, the evidence suggesting that there is a positive effect of extended learning time is unreliable (Cooper et al., 2010). There is no need then to spend more resources that could be useful somewhere else on an intervention based on unreliable evidence.

  • Review of the Literature and data supporting different points of view

Various studies have been conducted on the issue of extended school days. In this section, a literature review will be presented along with data supporting various points of view on the need to expand learning time. Arguments for and against the intervention are either based on expert opinions after a literature review or on research studies. Either way, these arguments are supported by evidence and data. First, literature review and supporting data are presented on arguments for extended learning. Then, literature review and supported data are presented on argument against the intervention.

3.1 Arguments for extended school time

3.1.1 Extended school time is advantageous to students

            According to a literature review conducted by Biddle & Mette (2016), there is evidence supporting the positive effects of ELT programs. The evidence shows that extended learning time reduces risky behaviors after school, it diminishes crime, it increases physical health, and it reduces the rate of high school dropouts. The most important thing is to ensure that a quality program is implemented. The authors found that quality determines the outcomes of the ELT programs.

            In terms of academic outcomes, the authors found some evidence suggesting that high-quality extended learning time characterized by the alignment of in-school curriculum, and instructional environment that is explicit, focussed, and safe, and a program that encourages high attendance rates has a positive impact on students’ performance. During their literature review, the authors looked for evidence of positive effects based on the performance of students in national annual tests in math and reading (Biddle & Mette, 2016). The focus was mainly on the effects on certain groups such as students from low-income families.

On social and emotional outcomes, Biddle & Mette (2016) found that high-quality ELT has positive effects on students. Evidence suggests that the program supports the development of social and emotional skills. These include self-esteem, motivation, civic efficacy, and self-efficacy. In terms of school engagement, the authors found some evidence associating positive effects of ELT programs on students’ behavior, engagement, and attendance in school. The authors also found that programs that aimed at bridging the gap between occurrences in school and at home, had increased engagement of parents.

On the effects of ELT programs on students’ health, Biddle & Mette (2016) found a positive relationship. Such programs can; first, help equip students with proper knowledge on how to make good choices on nutrition. This helps in reducing the intake of high-calories food and adoption of healthier options leading to a reduction of obesity cases. Second, during such programs, healthy meals are provided to students associated with improved health. Third, the programs can help in connecting students and their families to professional health care providers (Biddle & Mette, 2016). This helps in providing additional health and wellness information. Fourth, ELT programs that offer physical activities improve physical health for the students especially for those who came from disadvantaged backgrounds.

3.1.2 ELT is beneficial especially for disadvantaged children

According to a literature review conducted by Chalkboard (2008) on ‘A Review of Research on Extended Learning Time in K-12 Schools’, ELT is beneficial to students. This is especially so for primary, secondary, and disadvantaged students. According to Chalkboard, ELT has over the last several decades emerged to be a promising policy. The policy has attracted many people in recent years including organizations such as the Harvard Family Research Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Massachusetts 2020. After conducting the literature review, Chalkboard (2008), made several findings supporting the ELT programs. In general, literature supporting the programs show that ELT improves academic performance. The argument is that all children should spend more time in school to meet the increasing demand for skills and knowledge in the global market. The proponents argue that most of the free time that children have could be used better in schools.

According to Massachusetts 2020, ELT has various benefits compared to the traditional school day. Students are able to spend more time on tasks, have a greater breadth and depth of learning, have more time for experiential and enrichment learning, and have a stronger relationship with instructors. Similarly, the program is beneficial for teachers as it gives them for time for planning and for professional development (Chalkboard, 2008). Additionally, the Harvard Family Research Project identifies various positive effects of ELT programs.

According to Chalkboard (2008), research shows that children from poor backgrounds benefit the most from ELT. This, however, depends on the quality of the program. According to research, extending learning time especially for students who really need it can enhance their performance. This can help close the gap between students from poor backgrounds and those from better economic backgrounds. To prove the importance of ELT, research shows how summertime negatively affects students from poor backgrounds while their counterparts are not affected. The fact that advantaged students are able to access learning opportunities during summer while the disadvantaged are unable to explain the unequal impact of the summer holidays (Chalkboard, 2008). This shows how greater access to learning opportunities can impact students positively.

The argument on the benefits of ELT on disadvantaged students is similar to the study of Cerdan-Infantes, & Vermeersch, (2007). The authors argue that full-time learning program improves learning for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They argue that targeting the student population with ELT programs would help reduce inequalities in education. Based on their study, Cerdan-Infantes, & Vermeersch, (2007) estimate that students who spend 6 years in the full-time program, would have standard deviation improvement of 0.26 in language and a standard deviation improvement of 0.38 in Math. What is clear though is that the research found a positive impact on students’ achievement after exposure to a full-time school program.

David & Farbman (2015), also support this argument that additional learning time improves learning especially for poor performing students due to limited opportunities or learning outside school. They argue that additional time expands opportunities for learning and growth. Such opportunities have potential in impacting students’ proficiency positively as well as the general educational experience. For this population, additional school time serves as a path to equity (David & Farbman, 2015). The additional time is beneficial as it provides more learning time which promotes deeper and broader curricula coverage, supports individualized learning, and time for activities that improve school engagement and expand educational experiences for students as well as teachers.

According to the literature review, Chalkboard (2008) found that ELT programs have positive impacts especially when they are focused on social and academic outcomes that are specific and predetermined. Such interventions are fruitful when the practice is not observed as corrective, when age-appropriate choices are made, and when the learning environment is supportive. With well-designed programs, all children can gain various benefits from ELT programs that all lead to improved general educational outcomes.

3.1.3 Increased learning time improves academic performance

According to a research review conducted by Kidron & Linsay (2014), increased school time impacts positively performance. According to the research review, increased learning time impacted academic motivation positively. The findings showed that where certified teachers were involved in ELT programs, students’ academic outcomes were impacted positively. Therefore, working with certified teachers leads to positive outcomes with the ELT program. This is associated with the ability of these teachers in aligning instructions during ELT with state standards.

Increased learning time affected positively the performance of students especially in students who perform below standards. Kidron & Linsay (2014) found that ELT ha positive impacts on literacy achievement on this group. The findings also showed a constructive effect of ELT on the achievement of math and literacy skills for at-risk students and on the growth of emotional and social skills for students with ADHD. According to the authors, ELT can be successful in suburban, urban, and mixed locations. The research review showed that ELT had a positive effect on literacy skills for students living in suburban locales (Kidron & Linsay, 2014). Students living in mixed locales were affected positively by ELT in terms of academic motivation and math achievement. For students living in urban and suburban areas, ELT was found to positively affect students in study skills.

Additionally, based on research review, Kidron & Linsay (2014) found that increased learning time impacted positively academic achievement of students in elementary school. According to the review, a statistically significant positive impact was found in the achievement of math and literacy skills among students in elementary school. According to Kidron & Linsay (2014) increased learning time has positive effects but under certain conditions. The following table shows the outcome of the programs and conditions under which the outcome occurred. With the use of certified teachers, traditional instructions, experiential instructions while facilitating the program, and target of specific student subgroup, increased learning time affects students positively.

Positive OutcomeSettingImplementation FeaturesStudent Group
Academic motivationChildren from mixed localesOut-of-school program 
Achievement of literacy skillsSuburban locationsCertified teachers Use of traditional instructionsChildren performing below standards At risk students  
Math achievementVarious locations elementary schoolCertified teachers Use of traditional instructionsNot at risk students
Development of social-emotional skills Experiential instructionStudents with hyperactivity disorder

Source: Kidron & Linsay, 2014.

3.1.4 More learning time is better for students

According to Cerdan-Infantes & Vermeersch (2007), more learning time is better. It improves students’ performance. With the focus on disadvantaged schools, the authors argue that extended learning time improves students’ test scores while at the same time reducing inequalities in education. The authors reached the conclusion after conducting research on the impact of lengthened school time on a standardized test in Uruguay. The estimates showed improved test scores for students in third grade by standard deviations of 0.0063 annually in mathematics. Additionally, the programs improved test scores in language by standard deviations of 0.044 annually. This was for schools with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Cerdan-Infantes, & Vermeersch, (2007), also estimated that full-time learning led to an extra 10% of students attaining the passing score in these schools in the third-grade test.

This argument is supported by Lavy, (2010). He argues that instructional time as an effect on test scores. Lavy found that extra school time affects positively academic achievement. For example, the study found that an additional one hour increases scores on average by 0.07 of the between pupil and by 0.15 of the within people standard deviation. The author found a positive effect on test scores by additional instructional time from different sample countries. In OECD countries sample, Lavy (2010) found positive effects of additional instructional time. For instance, an increase of instructional time from 2 to 3 hours increased test scores in Math with 0.5 standard deviations of between pupils. According to David & Farbman (2015), additional time expand opportunities for learning and growth. Such opportunities have potential in impacting students’ proficiency positively as well as the general educational experience.

3.2 Arguments against extended learning time

3.2.1 Quality time is more effective in improving performance

According to experts, the quality of time spent serves as a determinant of the success of students. They disagree that quantity determines students’ learning. According to experts, it is until the available time is effectively utilized that adding more can improve academic performance (Blazer, 2010). Evidence shows that schools that focus on proper utilization of time experience improved student achievement with extended learning time. When time is not effectively used and the number of school days is increased, student achievement has no significant gains. Available research shows regular loss of instructional time in schools. Among the activities conducted during the non-academic time are testing, announcements, recess, roll call, assemblies, and passing between classes (Blazer, 2010). These activities lead to the loss of instructional time. Other factors that contribute to the loss of instructional time are students’ absence, inattention, and poor management of the classroom. What has been proven is that 30 to 40% of the available time is not utilized for required purposes. This is supported by a research study that found time use for instructional purposes to range from a low of 21% to 69% (Blazer, 2010).

Only students from poor backgrounds and with low ability benefit from ELT. According to Blazer, more affluent students do not benefit from ELT. Because students with lower ability lack enough time to engage in in-depth learning during normal school time, they benefit from ELT. These students also lack access to educational resources when outside the school. Therefore, more time in school is beneficial. However, students from stale families have this access and would therefore not benefit from longer school days. Blazer, (2010) found that students from the poor economic background are negatively affected by summer vacation. The lost time leads to the loss of academic skills for this group.

Therefore, giving these students more time in school would reduce the negative impact. Otherwise, there would be no need for ELT for students from higher income families. Therefore, the focus should be on quality but not the quantity of in-school time. According to Evans & Bechtel, (1997), time is necessary for schools. However, time alone is not sufficient to improve students’ achievement. The most important thing is how available time is utilized. In short, the quality of instruction is the key to performance improvement.

3.2.2 Insignificant relationship between test scores and in-school time

Research shows no reliable relationship between test scores in international tests and time spend in-school. Some schools with longer school time produce poor scores while others with little time outdo the US. Data from PISA shows no relationship between student performance and instructional school time (Blazer, 2010). For instance, the table below shows that the top four countries in 2003 PISA scores did not spend more in-school time than schools ranked 27th.

CountryRankMath Instruction Time (hours)PISA Average score (Math)
South Korea36.2542

Source: Blazer, 2010.

The data shows more instruction time being used in Math in China and South Korea. However, Finland and the Netherlands spent less time in Math in-school instructional time compared to the U.S yet they had higher scores. Likewise, the last five countries in terms of test scores did not spend the lowest number of hours on in-school instruction time in Math. The table below shows some of these countries spent more instructional time than countries that performed better. For instance, Mexico spent 194 hours annually on in-school Math instruction time and scored 385 on average in 2003 PISA (Blazer, 2010). In contrary, the U.S spent 169 hours annually in Math instruction time and had an average score of 483.

CountryRankTime spent in Math Instruction per year (Hours)2003 PISAA Math Average Score

Source: Blazer, 2010.

3.2.3 Extending learning time is not cost-effective

Experts argue that extending learning time is not cost effective. They say that extending learning time is more than just adding school time. It involves extra training for program facilitators, full redesigning of the educational program, more funds for additional resources. Research shows that the cost of adding more time, for instance, an additional of 20 to 30 days which is required to produce substantial gains in students’ performance is unaffordable. For example, a total of $ 113 million was estimated to be the cost of each additional school day in Florida (Blazer, 2010). Researchers propose the use of other cost-effective measures such as the use of high standards instructional materials, improved training of instructors, and programs in early childhood interventions.

According to Evans & Bechtel, (1997), various financial problems could arise from ELT programs. The authors argue that extending the school day by just 1.5 hours would cost approximately $9,000 per instructor. Other staff would also increase the cost. Data from a certain study showed that districts could spend an additional 25% cost on routine operational cost with ELT. Maintaining such expenditures would be challenging over time. The program is estimated to cost between $20 and $22 billion of at national level an additional of 20 days is done (Evans & Bechtel, 1997). Such an expenditure would require added taxes which may attract resistance from the public over time.

3.2.4 The positive effect of ELT fades after time

Extended learning time from half-day to full-day results to positive academic outcomes in the early years. However, as evident in other studies, this effect fades over time. The program may even have some negative effects on non-academic outcomes. This means that extended learning time is not the magical solution to all challenges students are facing in school. Rather, it is just one approach that can be used in assisting children to grow (Cooper et al., 2010). In fact, according to the authors, other support services may be effective in improving learning for students in later grades than full-day school time. While the program should be available to children, it should not automatically be totally prescribed for all. For students with limited ability, the program combined with other interventions can help improve learning abilities. This can reduce academic failure in the future. However, for other children, extra time can be too much. Some children at the age of 5 may lack needed maturity for longer instructional time. Subjecting such children to more in-school hours would affect their attitudes towards school (Cooper et al., 2010). Additionally, such kids can be more prone to behavioral problems when they can no longer concentrate.

3.2.5 Limited evidence exists on the benefits of ELT on students’ performance

According to experts’ opinion, extending school time nay have non-instructional benefits. However, there is little evidence supporting the argument that such programs affect positively students’ achievement (Evans & Bechtel, 1997). Research evidence shows that increased learning time has no relationship with academic gains. For instance, Worthen and Zstray (1994) in their comprehensive review of research literature that took 20 years, they found little evidence supporting the relationship between student achievement and school time. Similarly, Adelman (1996) concluded that increased school time was a weak strategy (Evans & Bechtel, 1997). This strategy was bound to work against the efforts of other vital reforms. She recommended discontinuing of the experimental after finding no clear links between student improvements after participating in the 220-day calendar for the experiment. Adelman went to the extent of recommending flexible school schedules for more benefits.

            According to Patall et al (2010), available research evidence suggests that extended school learning can improve learning, especially for at-risk students. This however possible when considerations are made on how best to use the time. The problem, however, is that the evidence is weak. Making causal inferences is difficult with the research designs. Most of the reviewed studies did not use any sort of equating procedure. Many others made conclusions after comparing a very small sample of schools. Even worse, these schools had a different calendar or different school day lengths. Other studies assessed a large number of relations which means that significant findings could only be made by chance (Patall et al., 2010). Research studies such as quasi-experiments combining with equating as correct experiments can produce more reliable results. Also, to make reliable conclusions, many evaluations must be considered done through strong research designs.

Additionally, the current evidence fails to address the effects of ELT on students’ achievement in the long-term. The authors found that most evaluations were conducted almost immediately the program was implemented. In fact, most studies did the evaluations only after one year of implementation. Even those few studies that evaluated the effects of the program over many years, the focus was on various cohorts every year. Instead, they ought to have used the same students over time (Patall et al., 2010). Additionally, the authors argue that there is a need for stronger research on the amount of time required to balance benefits and costs. The authors, however, note that time alone cannot influence students’ learning (Patall et al., 2010). However, time combined with other initiatives that are well-designed can support learning and at that point, ELT would be an influential tool.

3.2.6 Relationship between students’ achievement and in-school time is unreliable

According to Assaf (2015), the relationship between the academic achievements of students and the length of the school day is unreliable. The author made the conclusion after examining whether there exists any significant relationship between standardized test scores for students by grade 12 and the number of attended school days. After the research, the author found no significant relationship. The following table shows the findings. Based on the findings, there was a decrease in test scores in Arabic and English post-tests. This suggests that extending school time did not improve academic achievement in the two areas. The increase in Math in post-tests by 0.63 is insignificant (Assaf, 2015). This suggests that the relationship between academic achievement and extended school time in Math is insignificant.

Set Mean
Set 1Grade 11 Arabic Final grade Term 2 200988.43
Grade 12 Arabic Final grade Term 2 201078.56
Set 2Grade 11 English Final Grade Term 2 200981.99
Grade 12 English Final Grade Term 2 201079.39
Set 3Grade 11 Math Final Grade Term 2 200983.64
Grade 12 Math Final Grade Term 2 201084.27

Source: Assaf, 2015.

According to the author, these findings are similar to previous studies which indicate that there is a weak relationship statistically between academic success and allocated learning time. For instance, a study by Eren and Millimet (2007) found weak evidence supporting the argument that extended school time improves reading and test scores (Assaf, 2015). A study by Smith (2002) using data from Wisconsin schools found small effects in Math in grade 4, 8, and 10. No significant improvement has been found in reading tests. Additionally, a systematic review of Patell et al (2010) found neutral to small effects on academic achievement. Based on these findings, the author suggests proper utilization of instructional time instead of just adding school time (Assaf, 2015).

4. Strengths and weaknesses of the points of view

4.1 Arguments for ELT

The strengths of arguments for ELT include; first, the arguments are based on many studies focussed on examining the effects of extended in-school time on academic achievements. For instance, all studies have agreed that whether small or large, has positive effects on students’ performance. Second, the arguments are supported by statistical data. Third, the proponents have provided logical support for their points of view.  However, these points of view have weaknesses. First, the opponents agreed that for the intervention to be effective, it must be properly implemented (Biddle & Mette, 2016). This means that it is not a guarantee that the intervention will yield positive effects. Second, the views are based on evidence from weak research designs. This means that the findings are unreliable leading to the questioning of these points of view. Third, the points for extended learning are supported by limited evidence (Biddle & Mette, 2016). Even opponents themselves call for more research to establish the effects of extended learning on students’ achievements.

4.2 Arguments against extended learning time

The points against extended learning time intervention have several strengths. First, the arguments are based on many research studies. These studies provide reliable evidence and statistical data showing the insignificant relationship between extended learning time and better academic performance. Second, the arguments are based on logical support. Third, the arguments are supported by evidence from various countries. However, these points of view have weaknesses. First, opponents agree that if added time is spent well, it can have positive effects on academic performance (Assaf, 2015). Second, opponents agree that time plays a role in improved academic performance.

5.0 Discussion of how to deal with a disagreement among faculty on this issue

Looking at the studies on the relationship between students’ academic achievements and extended learning time, it is with no doubt that the staff will have different views on the issue. As an education leader, I would deal with these disagreements in various ways. First, is by acknowledging that each point of view is valid. The focus will be on letting the staff appreciate others’ point of view on extended learning time (Sahni, 2013). This will be the first towards avoiding conflicts related to the issue. By encouraging the staff to understand the issue from differing points of view, they will learn to respect differences. This helps in avoiding disagreements.

The second step is engaging the staff in discussions around the issue. This includes involving specialists in the discussion. During the discussion, the group would be expected to conduct regular research on the model. Then, they would meet regularly to discuss the findings. Then the group would be involved in making decisions regarding the issue. When everyone’s opinion is taken into consideration, having different opinions would reduce disagreement (Sahni, 2013). The third step is engaging professionals in training the faculty about the issue. This will equip them with enough information about extended learning time. This way, those who support its implementation know that opposing views are valid and vice versa. The staff will understand both sides of the issue eventually learning to appreciate varying points of view (Sahni, 2013). The role of the education leader is this intervention will be providing required resources and encouraging all teachers to join the training.

The fourth step would be providing the staff will available research on the issue. This involves availing the studies to every individual. The studies will be from both sides. This will provide enough evidence that both points of view are valid. It will prove that there is evidence for arguments for extended learning time and for arguments against. Again, the staff will be able to learn that both sides have strengths and weaknesses. With access to this information, there will be no disagreements as each individual will learn to appreciate others’ point of view (Sahni, 2013).

6.0 Conclusion

It is clear that the topic of extended school time has attracted a lot of debate. Proponents of the intervention claim that it has educational and non-educational benefits. Opponents argue that extended learning time does not guarantee improved academic learning. While extended learning time can improve academic performance while at the same time reducing the disparity between children from the poor economic background and those who are financially advantaged, supporting evidence is weak and limited. Based on available research studies, I argue that it is the quality of time spent in school that determines students’ performance and not quantity.

Clearly, students have much time in schools. However, it seems that this time is not used properly. Research shows that instructional time in school is lost to activities such as testing, roll call, assemblies, passing between classes, and recess. Additionally, poor class management, students’ inability to pay attention to instructions, and absenteeism also lead to loss of instructional time. We can, therefore, contribute below average performance to poor use of instructional time. Stud by Blazer (2010) found that approximately 30 to 40% of available instructional time is not used for instructional purposes. This is supported by another study which found time used for instructional purposes to be as low as 21%.

Based on these statistical data, it is clear that the quality of instructional time matters. This means that there would be no need to add more time if the already available time is not be used properly. It is until the available time is used properly impacting academic performance positively that we can advocate for additional time. Strategies should be developed to ensure that quality instructional time is provided to students. This has the potential for improving learning outcomes.

Additionally, adding more school time has proven to be more effective for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These are students who are unable to access learning resources from outside school. Otherwise, for students from the advantaged background, additional school time have no significant effect. This suggests that quantity does not play a major role in improved academic performance. Data from the study by (Blazer, 2010) proves that the amount of time spent in class doesn’t automatically improve performance. The following data suggests that spending more time in school doesn’t mean improved academic performance. A country like Finland spent only 3.0 hours per week on instruction and scored hire (544) than Mexico which spent 8.1 hours weekly on Math instruction. This proves that it is quality of time in giving instructions that determines the performance of students.

CountryInstruction time per week (Math)Math average score  (2003 PISA)

Source: Blazer, 2010.

Additionally, based on the literature review, there are more points against extended learning time compared to those supporting the intervention. These points support the argument for quality over quantity. These points include insignificant relationship between test scores and in-school time, cost-ineffective of ELT, fading away of the positive effect of ELT after time, availability of limited evidence on benefits of ELT on students’ performance, and the unreliable relationship between students’ achievement and in-school time.


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