The Block Is Not to Blame: Collaboration to Correct Education Reform Scheduling Efforts

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The early 1990s marked the beginning of major education reform in America's public schools. High school academic calenders were a primary focus of this reform. The four period block schedule was widely adopted over the traditional academic calendar in order to improve student performance, prepare graduates for college, and reduce discipline issues. Twenty years later, following flat academic performance, many of these schools are choosing to revert back to versions of the traditional eight-period school day. Several amendable factors are inhibiting the success of the block schedule. Rather than lapsing into a model already deemed ineffective, schools that have adopted the block schedule need to take a holistic approach to the educational environment by focusing on continuous staff development, curriculum design, parental involvement, and overall institutional morale. The block schedule emerged out of the education reform movement, becoming popular following 1994 National Education Goals set forth by Congress to mandate outcome-based education in the American Public School system (Queen, 2009, p. 88). Later, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 cemented these standards by obligating federal education funds on the basis of performance on quantitative assessments (Queen, 2001, p. 92). School districts reacted by seeking innovative strategies that would give their students an advantage. The block schedule offered a viable solution by arranging the year to allow four 90-minute periods of intense study for a semester rather than eight 45-minute classes for the entire school year. This promised more time for teachers to prepare lessons, a reduction in unproductive class transition protocol such as attendance, and the freedom to... ... middle of paper ... ... block: that’s not the question. The Journal of Educational Research, 95, 196-202. Retrieved from Norton, M. K. (2010). A study of the impact of block scheduling on student achievement in public high schools (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (AAT 3397428) Queen, J. A. (2009). The block scheduling handbook. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Slate, J., & Jones, J. (2000). Students' perspectives on block scheduling: reactions following a brief trial period. The High School Journal, 83 (3), 55-55. Retrieved from Veal, W. (2000). Teaching and student achievement in science: a comparison of three different schedule types. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 11:B, 251-275. Retrieved from

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