Quantity Of Instruction
Does the amount of instruction have an impact on student achievement? The answer is, it depends. The total hours spent in school typically do not significantly impact student outcomes, unless the hours are unusually low or high. But not all time is equal. The actual time students spend engaged in a specific subject is critical. This has important implications for education policy. Over the past 30 years, conventional wisdom has driven increases in the length of the school day and the school year in attempts to improve student performance. Disappointingly, the evidence is just not there to support these efforts. An analysis comparing total hours internationally finds little evidence for one model over another in affecting student outcomes. The focus needs to shift from total hours to ensuring that adequate time is allocated to high-quality instruction. Classroom time must be divided between time spent on instruction and time-off tasks such as lunch, recess, or moving from one class to another. Teachers need to ensure that an adequate amount of academic instruction is executed using quality instructional methods, such as active student responding, that pay the greatest dividends.