Over the past two decades, schools and institutions have started to explore a revised calendar or year round education to meet the academic needs of their students. According to the National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE) report, there is a 441% growth of students receiving year round education since the mid-1980s…
It is important to know the difference between this modified calendar and traditional system to compare the benefits and drawbacks of this development. Unlike the traditional system where a multiple month vacation (mostly in summer) is given to students, year round schools offer a cumulative holidays of about 2 months distributed over the year. These year round schools can further offer single track, multi track or extended year format. When this new system was introduced in the mid 80s, a lot of controversies erupted that highlighted concerns over certain issues. In order to analyze and compare these two systems it is mandatory to dissect those issues. Traditional system had served its purpose well for a very long time. Now if it was to change it could have some positive or negative effect on the individuals associated with it, most importantly, the students and the teachers (Haser & Ilham 2005). So while comparing these two systems focus should be on observing any change in their attitude. For example, a student from a year round school system can be disturbed looking at the kids of his age enjoying their long summer vacations. Other factors that are important to consider are effect on academic performance, cost and changing a norm of a society. Year round Education and Academic Achievement: Various researches have been conducted around the world to compare the two education calendars. Lindsay-Brown, 2010, investigated and compared the impact of year round school calendar and traditional school calendar on the academic achievements in North Central South Carolina. In this study, 256 elementary students from four different schools, each pair following different calendars, were tested using the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT). English language arts and mathematics were the subjects tested in the study. After all the fine adjustments were done to the obtained data, the result showed that there was no significant difference in the academic achievements when students from year round schools versus traditional schools were compared. Another review paper of 39 studies (Cooper et al 2003) also indicated a weak and insignificant effect of modified school calendar on academic achievement. Most of the think tanks that are in the favor of this modified calendar place their arguments on the basis of superior academic achievements. These results, however, is in direct contradiction to their theory. Some groups such as “Summer Matters” believe that traditional school system is best for the students and society. The argument is based on philosophy of family ties and relationships. They believe that long summer breaks allow families to come together and cherish the moments with their children. This social support catalyzes children efforts and stimulates them to perform better in the field of education. Moreover, they insist that summer vacations provide an excellent opportunity for kids to learn and discover new things. Why Year round Education Calendar? So if year round education does not help students to excel in their academics, then why this system has gained popularity over the years? Parents, faculty and administrator weigh certain other factors as well such as growing school enrollments, working parents and shrinking budget (Sheilds & Stevens, 2000). These problems are partially solved by introducing this education calendar. For example, multi-track year round schooling divides students into groups and rotates them in an organized manner. This multi tracking can increase the capacity of school by 30%. Therefore, the total number of students accommodated in 4 traditional schoo ...
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