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Block Schedule : Education Reform: Arthur Hu's Index

Another questionable school "reform" program, typically replaces 7 1 hour classes with 4 longer periods on the assumption that you can't learn enough in an hour and too many interruptions.

Instead of taking math, english, music and PE throughout the year, you take "4x4", four courses in the first half, and four in the second half, or eight for the entire year. Critics say students get bored after an hour and simply waste time, leads to disasterous reductions in academic performance, and just a bad idea.

Music teachers say students drop out because they can't schedule music throught the year, and the SAT and AP people say it has a terrible effect on math scores as well because you go for a half year without doing any math or science.

It supposedly is well suited for school to work work assignments, but that makes it even harder to schedule in music or PE.

Another variation is to teach teach groups of up to 70 students

Big Anti-Block Schedule Attack Pieces:



@@Against

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.
...................................................................
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

"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."


BLOCK SCHED HURTS MATH SCORES
link Block Scheduling Effects on a
State Mandated Test of Basic Skills William R. Veal University of
North Carolina-Chapel Hill James Schreiber Indiana University For
reading and language, there was no statistically significant
difference in test results. There was a statistical difference
mathematics-computation. Block mathematics is an ideal format for
obtaining more credits in mathematics, but the block format does
little for mathematics achievement and conceptual understanding. 


TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL COMES BACK WITH
BLOCK PROS AND CONS "I believe after reading this list of pros
and cons, it is quite clear that block scheduling hurts the academic
standards of a school."

Brookings-Harbor School District Oregon
Drops Block Scheduling and why it is a failure. "Perhaps the most
important is that under the present block schedule framework, there
are a number of students who do not receive adequate instruction in
the critical areas of English, Math and Science in a timely manner to
prepare them for mandatory state tests in these three subjects."

Block Scheduling
harms music

BLOCK SCHEDULING HARMS AP TEST SCORES
The College Board, which oversees the Advanced Placement (AP) Tests,
released a statement entitled "AP and January Examination" on
September 19, 1996. Of the thirteen examinations in which there were
100 or more semester intensive block scheduled students, those who
took the course over a full year averaged higher scores in 77% of (20
of the 26) cases. In calculus, history, and the sciences, mean grades
for block scheduled students were about 0.6 (about half a standard
deviation) lower than the mean for students who took the course over
the full year. Under the block, AP exam scores for calculus, history,
and the sciences drop on the average by 0.6 points. The maximum score
is 5.0 and the average is well below that (typically a little over 3,
I believe) so a drop of 0.6 points is almost a 20% reduction in
performance (0.6/3 = 0.2). 


Block Scheduling House of
Problems Teachers and Parents in the Wissahickon School District.
Ambler, PA, 19002.  Vito Sabella

Intensive
Block Scheduling Residents for Quality Education P.O. Box 56
Wallingford,Pa 19086 

--------------------

COLLEGE BOARD SAYS BS HURTS MATH TEST SCORES

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 24, 1996 written by a popular
columnist, David Boldt. "It hurts,not helps" As I tried to
explain at the time I think intensive block scheduling is emblematic
of the sort of ineffectual and incompetent "reform" school
administrators are perpetually dragging out to show an increasingly
critical public that they are doing something.

 The preliminary report from Dr. Bateson's 1995 study (M. Marshall,
A. Taylor, D. Bateson, and S. Brigden, "The British Columbia
Assessment of Mathematics and Science: Preliminary Report (DRAFT),
1995) is on the Web. 

From: Quentin49
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 17:43:06 -0500 (EST)
Is there anyone on the loop who is familiar with Joseph Carroll and the trial
runs he did at Masconomet High School in Massachussetts from 1988 to 1991?
 Don't point me to Jeff Lindsay's pages, I've been there and done that.  I am
looking for anyone who has had personal experience with this particular
school.  Carroll described the Block Scheduling experiment run their where
the IBS schedule was compared to a normal 7 class schedule.  After 3 years
the district voted to return to the traditional schedule and Carroll took his
show on the road as a "consultant".  


http://www.sciences.drexel.edu/block/local/newsletter1.html
\clip\97\25\strath.htm
Open Letter to the Strath Haven Community
FROM:Residents for Quality Education
The intensive block scheduling plan now proposed for Strath Haven
High School would turn yearlong courses into one semester courses,
based on a class time of 80 minutes per day. The traditional 8-period
school day would be replaced by 4 extended periods.  The school
calendar also would be changed, replacing the 4-term year with an
80-80-25 day plan. The first two 80-day semesters would be used for
formalized class studies. The last 25-day mini-semester would consist
of a diverse offering of mini-courses, independent studies, and
community or industry experiences. 

STW AND MARXIST VISION Teacher
Calls STW "One More Circus Act" August 07, 1997 School-to-Work: One
More Circus Act by Donna Smith file under - block schedule,
school-to-work source: The
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

The block schedule works best for STW as the average 85-minute period
lends itself to fewer classes for attendance on the school site and
allows for more time on the work site.  It allows time for in-class,
cooperative learning groups—those circles for the honing of skills
for the workplace.  It works, too, for vocational classes because of
the time allowed for projects and, again, for more time on the work
site.  For the core curriculum, however, such scheduling has forced
teachers to juggle academics to accommodate a year’s course
compressed into one semester.

 BLOCK
SCHEDULING The parents at Montgomery County High were given the
option to vote on whether or not they wanted block scheduling two
years ago. \clip\97\25\block.txt

Block schedule disaster in Santa Monica
High School, S.M., CA, experimented with a trial block-schedule
for three weeks. It was a disaster. Instead of 110 minute blocks,
classes were only 90 minutes long, because the students cannot
concentrate for so long!  During the wasted 20 minutes


%%For

z47\clip\2000\12\block.htm http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kque0011.htm
Block Scheduling Revisited By J. Allen Queen Nov 2000 In 1998 Donald
Hackmann and David Waters found several positive outcomes as a result
of block scheduling.12 They discovered that students were able to
take a broader array of courses. In addition, schools reported fewer
disciplinary referrals, improved class attendance, increased numbers
of students completing Advanced Placement courses, advanced mastery
of subject content, and improved course grades. Similarly, Sharon
Skrobarcek and her colleagues reported that students received more
individual attention from teachers in the block design.13 In
addition, they found that 75% of students reported that teachers
varied instructional activities. [but pitfalls... some teachers
continue to lecture]

\clip\99\02\edclip08.txt Des Moines Register: Block Schedules
reportedly improve grades Longer class times praised, sought by
D.M.-area schools Block schedules reportedly improve grades and
reduce discipline problems.  By KATHY A. BOLTEN Register Staff Writer
01/18/1999 the number of students receiving A's and B's has increased
by 3 percent from three years ago when the block schedule was first
adopted, said Associate Principal Charlie Axtell. There"s also been a
decline in discipline problems during the time students change
classes, he said.

A place that is looking into
block scheduling, another "new idea".

%%Math

http://www.sciences.drexel.edu/block/canadianstudy/5pagestudy.html
It appears that the hypothesized benefits of semester and quarter
systems, in terms of student achievement, are not being realized in
mathematics in British Columbia. In fact, it appears that students on
semester and quarter systems may actually be disadvantaged in the
                                             ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
area of mathematics achievement as measured by this assessment. There
may be other benefits to these alternative timetable systems, but
they have not been displayed in this assessment. This problem of
lower scores in semester schools was reported in the 1986 B.C.
Science Assessment, and results were also published in the Journal of
Research in Science Teaching (Bateson, 1990).  

NO RESEARCH SUPPORTING BLOCK SCHEDULING,
ONLY DATA AVAILABLE SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT IT IS WORSE.

STUDENTS HAVE NO MATH FOR HALF THE YEAR, AND COVER LESS MATERIAL
\priv\97\07\redarr.txt (not public, but I have it on file) "4.  I am
interested to hear the teachers' comments in one school district
which has just adopted block scheduling and so I ask how it is going
before I leave. "The teachers know it isn't working and hate it, but
the administration thinks it's great," is the response.  The
scheduling is so confused that many students who have math in a fall
semester won't have it again till the spring semester of the next
year.  No one is able to cover the amount of content covered in years
before."

KIDS DO NOT LEARN MATH AS WELL UNDER BLOCK SCHEDULING
Passed along from the net:
Block Scheduling -- With a Mathematics Perspective
http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/bennett1/block_scheduling.htm
I am not willing to take the risks that I believe block scheduling
offers.  The negatives that I have discovered through my research
would not allow me to support the change in good conscience. It would
not be fair to my students. ... none of [the reported benefits] alter
the disturbing fact that, according to the best scientific research
currently available,
KIDS DO NOT SEEM TO LEARN MATH AS WELL UNDER THIS
SYSTEM."
BTW, the motherlode of info about BS relains:
http://www.jefflindsay.com/Block.shtml

@@For

ASCD web page forum:
http://www.ascd.org/cgi-bin/threads.pl?action=view&msg=0&board=block
November 21, 1996 at 12:34:52 Geoffrey Smith (gsmith@cbn.net.id)
Jakarta International School has 680 students in the Middle School
alone. We are in our third year of using a flexible block schedule.
We are assessing the schedule this year. There is not a single
teacher who would return to a 45 minute class period. We have built
in a significant amount of planning time for learning community teams
(teams of 4). It's a great schedule for some but has drawbacks for
elective and exploratory teachers. It's hard to please everyone.


@@Pitfall

z75\clip\2003\10\blockrev.txt,.htm
http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kque0011.htm
Block Scheduling Revisited
By J. Allen Queen
"increasing the number of courses that a student can complete in a
four-year period. In the process, educators have increased graduation
rates, lowered discipline referrals, and improved dropout rates.10
Moreover, since most students under a block schedule are limited to
three or four courses per semester, far greater immersion in each
subject is possible. Less time is spent in class changes. At the same
time, improved school climate results in a more relaxed atmosphere,
with greater student/teacher rapport. In many cases, the schedule
change has become a tool for curriculum improvement.11 ..has brought
both positive and negative outcomes. The promises and pitfalls of
block scheduling surfaced quickly."

%%Team Teaching

SOCIAL STUDIES AND ENGLISH BLENDED INTO ONE BLOCK
\clip\99\05\skyline.txt http://archives.seattletimes.com February 05,
1999 Reforms taking toll on Skyline students by Mike Lindblom Seattle
Times Eastside bureau Humanities, a required course combining social
studies and English for freshmen, sophomores and juniors, is a
two-hour, team-taught block with classes of about 70 students. A
single grade in it constitutes a full third of each student's
grade-point average.