Pros and Cons of Year-Round Education Research Brief

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IUPUI (Campus). Center for Urban and Multicultural Education

A traditional school calendar in the United States of America provides 180 days of instruction and a lengthy summer vacation. In efforts to raise achievement, reduce costs, or better serve their communities, many schools have altered the traditional school calendar. Year-round education (YRE) programs (also called modified calendars or balanced calendars) do not extend the amount of time students are in school, but rather distribute the 180 school days more evenly throughout the year. These schools may have voluntary enrichment, remediation, or acceleration opportunities during the “intercessions,” or regular breaks. Approximately 3,000 schools that enrolled over two million students in the United States followed YRE schedules in 2007 (National Association for Year-Round Education, 2007). Given these figures and the use of YRE as a strategic mechanism to improve academic achievement, it is appropriate to characterize YRE as a reform effort. Therefore, it is equally appropriate to examine the extent to which this reform effort is associated with student outcomes including equity and academic achievement. This research brief unpacks the definition of Year-Round Education and then presents the current thinking and research about its adoption and impact on students, teachers, and families.

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