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BLOCK SCHEDULING RESEARCH
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The Case Against Block Scheduling
Part 1: The Nature of the Problem

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Block Scheduling
Educational Reform Efforts
Dr. Fred R. Bassett
As George Bernard Shaw once said, "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones. All men mean well."  Likewise, education reform in this country is paved with good intentions.  The problem is that for decades most efforts at education reform have been the result of some perceived political or economic crisis that had little or nothing to do with public education. Responsibility for these crises, however, was put on public education by politicians, business leaders, and others who wanted to lay the blame on someone else or who had a personal agenda in mind.  Only a few examples of this phenomenon include:  (1) the blaming of public education in the 1950's for the failure of the U.S. to get a satellite in orbit ahead of the U.S.S.R. and the resulting focus on math and science education along with student "tracking" by ability level so that more engineers could be produced; (2) the blaming of public education in the 1960's for problems associated with racial integration and the Vietnam War and the resulting focus in education on a "relevant" curriculum and the de-emphasis of the
classics. 
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IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
BLOCK SCHEDULING IN SCHOOLS MAY IMPACT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT/ACT SCORES
AMES, Iowa -- Student achievement may be impaired by certain models of block scheduling, according to a new series of studies by Iowa State University and ACT.
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12/22/99 Policy Research Report No. 13 (Block Scheduling) now contains appendices:
Read the abstract, or download the complete PDF

Policy Research Report #13: Block Scheduling in Texas Public Schools

The study presented in this report examines the relationships between different types of schedules and overall student performance in Texas public high schools. Overall performance was measured in terms of dropout rates, grade-level retention rates, campus-level results for the TAAS, and participation and performance on college admissions tests (SAT and ACT) and AP examinations.

Document Number GE9-601-05, 54 pages. Cost: $5.25; Tax Exempt Cost: $4.75

My copy of Texas Education News just arrived (Nov. 22, 1999), and in this issue are the results of a Texas Education Agency study of block scheduling in Texas high schools.

"Texas Education Agency researchers say they can find no proof that longer class periods -- used in the block scheduling approach in Texas high schools -- have resulted in improved student learning. The findings are contained in a new 54-page study prepared by the TEA's research and evaluation division...How effectively students and teachers engage in the teaching-learning process appears to matter much more than the length of class periods...The authors also acknowledged the arguments of critics who complained that block scheduling actually reduces instructional time over the school year -- and that teacher and student concentration is weakened over a 90-minute period."

The report looked at Texas high schools (9-12) from 1996-97. At that time 43% of the state's high schools had some sort of block scheduling.

"The study's authors also reported that they did not attempt to assess all possible benefits or conequences of block scheduling."

To obtain the full report entitled "Policy Research Report Number 13 Block Scheduling in Texas Public High Schools" call 512-475-3523. Texas Education News states that the report will eventually be posted at.

Phi Delta Kappa
Block Scheduling Revisited, by J. Allen Queen
IN THE October 1997 Kappan, Kim Gaskey and I outlined the major steps for improving school climate through block scheduling, and these steps remain imperative for schools examining the possibility of moving to a block schedule. However, for schools that have been using some form of block scheduling, it is time to revisit the intention and direction of these alternative models.