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This chapter presents the related literature and studies after the thorough and indepth

search done by the researchers. This will also present the synthesis of research that supports the

evaluation of this study. This chapter shows the relevant literature that will support the research

conducted, which contains information gathered from books, journals, other periodicals, online

sources and varied unpublished materials that provided the researcher with the exhaustive review

of the topic and the necessary background knowledge to pursue the study.


Citing a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Federation of Association of

Private Schools and Administrators said school managers should adjust the start of classes from

6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. FAPSA president Eleazardo Kasilag said high school students who report to

school at 6 a.m. or even 7 a.m. need to be shaken up or have to be told of funny anecdotes by

teachers for them to start listening in classes for major subjects, usually given in the first hours of

the day. based on the AAP report, "simply telling youths to go to bed earlier so that they're

functional at such an early hour is ineffective because biological changes brought about by

puberty make it impossible for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Students often do not acquire the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep due to a

natural and biological tendency for teenagers to fall asleep at later times. Contrary to logical

thinking, most school systems fail to recognize the destructive effects of such lack of sleep and

implement a learning schedule in direct opposition to the mental and physical needs of the

student body. Without the dramatic shift nationwide of school start times and the crucial support

of the public in order to create a vital change, high school students will continue to be at a high

risk of depression, fatigue, and stress, all aspects of which plague the nations education system

and leads to an askew societal mentality which values production more than health and



International comparisons show a lot of variation in the amount of time students are in

school, but little relationship to reading scores. Among 15-year-olds in the 22 countries

participating in the 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the U.S. level of

990 instructional (not allocated) hours per year was the fifth highest behind Austria (1,120

hours) and France, Italy, and Japan (1,020 hours each) while U.S. performance was near the

international average. On the other hand, Finnish 15-year-olds received 858 hours of instruction

per year among the least yet outperformed their peers worldwide (OECD, 2002)

The average school day largely parallels state regulations on minimum hours per day for

public school instruction in the United States. In 2004, 40 states and the District of Columbia set

minimums, and 34 of those states required five or more instructional hours per day in grades one

through high school. The difference in requirements is not hugetypically only about 30

minutes. For example, California requires that 1st- to 3rd-graders attend 4.7 hours; 4th- to 8th-
graders attend five hours; and 9th- to 12th-graders attend six hours. As in 2002, all state high

school minimums ranged from 47 hours per day in 2004, except for Missouri, which placed three

hours at the lower limit, and West Virginia with a policy of 3.75 hours per day (Cavell et al.,


Time can be interpreted as a resource and, as such, the amount of time devoted to the

education of children is often examined as a separate and central resource in the educational

process (Baker, Fabrega, Galindo, & Mishook, 2004). However, despite its simplistic

appearance, time in an educational setting is a complex issue. This is partially because the

amount of time actually spent on instructional tasks and the efficiency of instruction are hard to

determineinstructional time is dependent on its relationship to curriculum and instructional

quality (Baker et al., 2004). However, discussions regarding education and the notion of time

typically gravitate toward a focus on the school year and on the school day, and it is from this

perspective that the concept is examined.

Some research on ideal times for student learning examines the time of day at which

students report being most alert and receptive to new information. These time-of-day studies

often categorize people as morning-types or evening-types, based on the time of day they feel

most alert and productive. Janet Kinosian, writing about morning- and evening-type persons,

notes that Stanford University sleep expert Emmanuel Mignot theorizes that a mutation on

chromosome 4the clock geneplays a big role in your preference for morning or evening

Despite the overall decrease in sleep times among children and teens over the past few

decades, studies show that not only do adolescents function optimally after approximately nine

hours of sleep each night, but also that delaying the time at which adolescents must wake up (and

subsequently attend class) yields significant returns in alertness, mood, and physical health. The

preference for a later bedtime among teens has long been considered a cultural and psychosocial

change, rather than one which is due to specific biological processes.

Kristen Dexter and Robert Tai (2006) studied the performance of college students and

also determined which type of high school scheduling plan these students had in high school

(those who had block scheduling in high school and those who did not). Their findings

suggested that block-scheduling plans (in high school) did not appear to provide an advantage to

students in terms of their college preparation in science. However, Bateson (1990) studied

secondary science students across all of Canada and found that the students in traditional

schedules out performed the block schedule students.

Not only do studies show that students benefit academically from later start times, but

some report that teachers also prefer later start times for high school students. In a test on the

effects of a delayed start time, high schools in Minneapolis changed start times from 7:15 a.m. to

8:40 a.m. for a 4-year period.27 After these changes were instituted, the majority of teachers

supported a later start time, with 31.7 percent preferring class start at 8 a.m. and 22.8 percent

preferring 8:30 a.m.

Finally, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a study in 2011 that tested the

effects of delaying school start times by one hour on the attention levels of adolescents. Results

demonstrated that in the first week, the experimental group slept an average of 55 minutes
longer each night, for five nights. These same students performed better when tested for

attention by the Mathematics Continuous Performance Test and the d2 Test of Attention.36

The study concluded with a strong recommendation that middle schools should consider

delaying the school starting time by at least one hour.

Studies by the University of Minnesota, Brown University, and the Childrens National

Medical Center found school start times at developmentally appropriate hours betters the

health and academic performance of students and shows a more appropriate duration of

sleep. One can argue American society values hard work and production more than any other

country in the world. But does being stuck in the way of normality really validate the halt of

progress, especially if it is for the better? Advocates against a change in the school system cling

to scheduling and economic issues as obstacles in enacting an adjustment in high school start

time. As a society all individuals must come together and fight for moral values such as health

and happiness and put it above money, greed, and production. A start time of 8:30 for all high

schools in the United States allows for a majority of students to receive a proper amount of sleep

while also leaving ample time for after school activities, sporting events, bus and public

transportation, and the synthesis of the school schedule of the students with the work schedule of

parents. American society must become aware of the ruinous cycle present in high schools and

immediately put pressure on government and school officials to put forth a plan in starting

schools later to allow students, particularly teenagers, to sleep more, perform at a higher level in

the classroom, and be more joyful, healthier members of society in order to begin a trend of

positive learning.

Learning is a complex and cognitively taxing task that depends on a multitude of factors,

including the context of a students school and classes. Many recent, often expensive,
educational reform proposals support this idea by focusing on how students learn rather than

what they learn. We look at the context of the school day schedule and find that there may be

potential to improve student performance at relatively low costs by reorganizing the school day.

Previous research has shown the benefits of similar academic contexts such as the

impacts of later start time, longer school days, and longer school years on academic achievement

(Carrell et al. 2011, Bellei 2009, Marcotte 2007, Hansen 2013). The findings from these studies

imply that the way in which the school day or school year is organized is an important aspect of

the education production function. Although the benefits of alternate school organization have

been well established across many disciplines and dimensions (Boergers et al. 2014, Wahlstrom

et al. 2014), school administrators have been hesitant to make changes. Even relatively low-cost

changes, such as start times, havent occurred due to constraints caused by bussing schedules and

after-school sports practices and jobs. Given the reluctance to change the way in which the

school year or school day is scheduled, we seek to determine whether the way that students

courses are scheduled within the school day has any affect on their academic achievement. By

understanding the role of course organization throughout the day, school administrators may

have the opportunity to improve student outcomes with a very low cost intervention

reorganizing the time in which courses are offered. Similarly, students with some control over

their own schedule could take matters into their own hands and follow a few rules-of-thumb to

put themselves in the best position to succeed.

A research from USAFA (United States Air Force Academy) states that consistent with

what is known about adolescents internal clocks, they concluded that that students per- form

better in afternoon and late-morning classes than they do earlier in the morning. However,

performance in later-period classes is also affected by fatigue from having had a number of
classes earlier in the day. They also found that the negative effects of having a morning class are

strongest for STEM classes and dissipate by afternoon. Additionally, they were able to estimate

the effects of having PE and breaks early in the school day, which both lead to improved

academic performance in subsequent classes. Many of these effects differ across course-type and

student characteristics.

A 2016 study published in The Review of Economics and Statistics sought to determine

whether scheduling math and English courses at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day

would result in higher grades and test scores for adolescents. For the study, How the Time of

Day Affects Productivity: Evidence from School Schedules, Nolan G. Pope of the University of

Chicago analyzed the grade-point averages and standardized test scores of nearly 2 million

students enrolled in grades 6 through 11 in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He

examined data collected between 2003 and 2009, including scores from the math and English

sections of the annual California Standards Test (CST). For the middle school students and high

school students in the study sample, the school day typically started around 8 a.m. and ended

around 3:10 p.m.

Several researchers have asked that very question. Two major studies synthesized the

findings of a large number of smaller studies (a process that is known as a meta-analysis) and

found somewhat conflicting results (Aronson et al., 2005; Walberg, 1998). Walberg analyzed

376 studies and found that 88 percent showed a positive relationship between time and learning.

Among these studies, the strongest correlations were found between learning and attendance

rates, learning and lengthening the school day or week, and learning and lengthening the school

Other research has pointed out the limited amount of time students spend engaged in or

participating in academic activities (also referred to as time on task). Crawford (2004)

analyzed the typical high school calendar and found that after subtracting time for holidays,

professional development days, early dismissal and parent conferences, field trips, assemblies,

concerts and award presentations, and state and district testing, approximately 13 to 18 six-hour

days remain per subject in the typical school year.

Aronson et al. concluded: This thenmaximizing the time during which students are

actively and appropriately engaged in learningis one lens through which any education reform

measure should be viewed. Only when time is used more effectively will adding more of it

begin to result in improved learning outcomes for all students.

However, a recent study by Massachusetts 2020 investigated how schools extend learning

time and identified eight schools that use different strategies for adding instructional time to the

day and year. At Bostons Roxbury Preparatory Charter School students attend classes for eight

hours each day and have double the instructional time for math and language arts (Farbman and

Kaplan, 2005). As a result, the percentage of students passing the MCAS (the states

standardized test) increased dramatically. Only 70 percent of the students in the class of 2002

(who did not have double math classes until their eighth grade year) passed the eighth grade

math MCAS, yet 100 percent of those in the class of 2004 (who had three years of double math)

passed the MCAS.

Longer classes enabled through block scheduling allow teachers to provide better

differentiation (ONeil, 1995; Farbman and Kaplan, 2005). Farbman and Kaplan note that

teachers in the target schools were able to divide the class into groups, with each group working
on different activities based on its specific needs. Although teachers worked between six and 18

extra hours per week, not all of the additional time was spent in the classroom; generally

[teachers] spend much of the extra time tutoring students, supervising enrichment activities,

participating in professional development, and planning their own classes.

Of course, the link between class schedules and student achievement does vary between

individuals. A critic of the 2011 study told USA Today that some students are more engaged

with study during the day and others at night. And time management, stress management, good

sleep habits, and exercise all contribute to academic performance as well.

The study author, Nolan G. Pope, recommended moving up subjects of greater

importance to earlier in the day in order to take advantage of the apparent benefit. Pope

suggests that the higher grades during morning classes could be due to enhanced student learning

ability, a change in the teachers teaching quality throughout the day, or even differences in

the class attendance. Recently, there has been a broader movement in schools to start later in the

day to give students more time to sleep. This is based on the argument that kids dont learn well

when they are still groggy first thing in the morning. While good results from those initiatives

may show differences in averaged learning outcomes, it does not account for changes in teaching

and learning between different times of day, according to Nolan G. Pope.

Extending learning time is not a new idea. The federal government spends millions of

dollars on out-of-school, afterschool, and expanded-learning opportunities through such

programs as the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and the 21st Century Community

Learning Centers initiative (Silva, 2007). SES funds are used to extend out-of-class learning

opportunities for students in schools that are designated by No Child Left Behind guidelines as
"in need of improvement." In addition, districts and schools across the country have become

pioneers in expanding learning time, with charter schools in particular being at the forefront of

the expanded time movement. A majority of charter schools rely on significantly more time as

part of their educational model (Farbman, Christie, Davis, Griffith, & Zinth, 2011).

According to Kolbe et al. (2011), more than 180 days is considered an extended school

year and seven or more hours per day is considered an extended day. The Center for American

Progress has suggested that expanded learning time be defined as the lengthening of the school

day, school week, and/or school year for all students in a given school by at least 30% (Rocha,

2008). In addition, the center suggests that for policy purposes, that extended learning time be

aimed at high-poverty, underperforming schools and that "to be effective, the concept of

expanded learning requires the complete redesign of a schools educational program in a way

that combines academics with enrichment for a well-rounded student experience and that

supports teachers by giving them more time for planning, training, and professional

development" (Rocha, pg. 2). Such a perspective calls for a common definition of expanded

learning time that goes beyond the idea that school doors are opened after normal school hours or

the simple existence of an afterschool program, tutoring, or homework assistance. According to

Rocha, those ideas "overlook three critical components of effective expanded learning time

programswhole-school redesign, inclusion of all students in a school, and alignment of

academics and enrichment with curriculum and standards" (pg. 41).

Educators in schools that use an extended-time model operate under a philosophy that

more time enables them to broaden and deepen the curriculum, to address the learning needs of

individual students, and to build in opportunities that enrich students educational experiences

(Farbman et al., 2011). However, a review of the literature on extended learning time by Patall,
Cooper, and Allen (2010) reveals that the research in this area is weak and that it is difficult to

make strong causal inferences. They report there are no controlled studies that allow researchers

to draw definitive conclusions about how extended time affects student performance over time.

Furthermore, Silva (2007) notes that most schools that have lengthened time for student learning

have not done so in isolation, but as part of a larger reform effort. This makes it difficult or

impossible to isolate the effects of extending the school day or school year on student


Despite those shortcomings, the research does reveal a critical common theme that

supports consideration of extended learning time strategies. Patall et al. (2010) indicate that the

research suggests that extending school time can be a particularly effective means to support

student learning for students who are most at risk of school failure. Because poor and minority

students are less likely than their more affluent peers to have educational resources outside of

school, they may benefit more from increased school time (Silva, 2007).

It should be evident that many factors must be in place for an extended-time strategy to

be effective. For example, the strategy would likely be unsuccessful in a poorly managed school

with ineffective teachers. In order for extended time efforts to engage students in productive

learning, essential elementsstrong leadership, rigorous and continuous professional

development, a focus on teacher quality, a positive school culture, and strong family

engagementmust be in place within the school system (Patall et al., 2010).

Expanding learning time is especially problematic at the high school level because it

often entails building partnerships with organizations outside the school, such as employers,

cultural institutions, community-based organizations, and college and universities (Pennington,

2006). An inherent fiscal challenge is that the optimal added time, that balances costs and

benefits, is unknown. This places a burden on education researchers to determine when, for

whom, and under what conditions added school time will yield the greatest benefits (Patall et


Pennington (2006) suggested that if extended-time school models prove successful, state

education agencies could handle the differential costs by adopting a weighted student funding

formula that would provide extra resources for students in greatest need and would specify that

an allowable use of funds would be to expand learning time. Unfortunately, the current fiscal

climate is one of an economic downturn with significant cuts in federal and state education

spending. Rather than extending the school year or school day, schools and districts are forced to

consider moving in the opposite direction. In order to balance their budgets, some districts have

resorted to stop-gap measures such as furloughs and hiring freezes, which often involve cutting

days from the school year. That means that in some locations, the school year is shrinking, not

expanding (Farbman et al., 2011).

Economics and research may dictate a focus on improving existing learning time rather

than using an extending time model. An important consideration in this era of accountability is

that mandated testing in English/language arts (ELA) and mathematics has impacted

instructional time. Approximately 62% of districts reported that they have increased time for

ELA and/or math in elementary schools since school year 200102, and more than 20% reported

increasing time for these subjects in middle school. The consequence of these increases has been

cutting time from other subjects, such as social studies and science (McMurrer, 2007). This

detracts from those subjects in order to support a strategy that has not been proven to benefit

student learning.
The impact of class time lengths on student achievement appears to be a complex issue

with no definitive answers. A major theme across many of the studies reviewed is that the

amount of instructional time is not so important as how that time is spent. In their revised

introduction to the Prisoners of Time (National Education Commission on Time and Learning,

2005), Goldberg and Cross state, "We call not only for more learning time, but for all time to be

used in new and better ways" (pg. 2). Another theme is that more time is not a silver bullet;

alone, extended learning time is not enough to change educational outcomes because it must be

accompanied by other practices, many of which are complex to implement (Pennington, 2006).

However, supported by the implementation of research based-educational practices, extended

learning time can be used effectively as a strategy for improving the performance and learning of

disadvantaged and minority students.

A 2014 study of 20,026 Swedish students attending grades 7, 9, and upper secondary

school (2nd year), demonstrated via multivariate binary logistic regression analysis that self-

reported short sleep duration increased the risk to fail one or more subjects during the school

year, with the highest odds for adolescents sleeping less than 78 hours on both school and

weekend nights. Students reporting sleep disturbances had an approximately twofold higher

relative risk to fail at least one subject during the school year.

Scientists have consistently found a constellation of sleep factorsearlier bedtimes, more

total sleep, and later rise timesassociated with superior academic performance and

higher grades. A 2010 meta-analysis (statistical method combining different study results) of 61

studies concerning students 8-18 years of age, found sleepiness most strongly related to school

performance, followed by sleep quality and sleep sufficiency. In studies examining subject areas

independently, mathematics grades appear to be more related to the amount of sleep obtained
than other core courses.

In the early 1990s, researchers from Brown University and the University of So

Paulo found initial evidence that circadian biology drives the delayed sleep-wake patterns of

adolescents. Subsequent studies have confirmed pubertys onset marks the beginning of a phase

shift, with adolescents going to bed later and rising later than younger children. Typically

adolescents are unable to fall asleep at earlier times and sleep in later to get the sleep they

need, now believed to be generally 8-11 hours, depending on age

More than 85 percent of public junior and senior high schools in the United States begin

morning classes before 8:30 a.m., with nearly 43 percent starting during the 7 oclock

hour, while melatonin still pressures adolescents to sleep. The vast majority of teenagers

attending early starting schools meet the morning bell in a sleep-deprived state. The

consequences of this sleep deprivation are severe, impacting adolescents physical and mental

health, as well as daytime functioning.

Students at later starting schools get more sleep, perform better academically, have

significantly fewer automobile accidents (the leading cause of death among older teens), report

greater motivation and less depression, experience fewer physical health difficulties, are less

likely to be tardy or truant, and more likely to graduate, demonstrate better performance in

attention level, impulsivity, and rate of performance[,] and, according to Brookings

Institute economists, will measurably improve fiscal prospects for themselves (with effects for

disadvantaged students roughly twice as large), and for their communities, where middle and

high school classes delay from roughly 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

A 2005 Northwestern University study, for example, found 60 high school seniors
performed better in the afternoon (3:00 p.m.4:30 p.m.), than in the morning (6:30 a.m.8:00

a.m. and 11:30 a.m.1:00 p.m.), on vigilance tests, symbol copying, visual search tasks, and

logical reasoning. In 2009, Matchock and Mordkoff found that in a sample of 80 older

adolescents and young adults (mean age = 21.6 years), general attentional scores for all

chronotypes were significantly low at 8 a.m. and twice as high at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m

Previous research demonstrated that high school students benefit when school start times

are delayed by over 1 hr. In particular, Wahlstrom (2002) found that attendance rates improved,

continuous enrollment remained the same or increased, grades showed slight improvement, and

students reported bedtimes similar to students in schools that did not change start times when

obtaining 1 hr more sleep on school nights. The present study adds to the field by demonstrating

that middle school students are also at an advantage when school start times are delayed. Results

reveal that seventh and eighth graders attending an early starting middle school are obligated to

wake up earlier in the morning to attend school and are not compensating by going to bed earlier

throughout the school year. As a result, these young adolescents are getting significantly less

sleep than their peers at a later starting school and report more irregular weekly sleep patterns,

increased daytime sleepiness, and more sleepwake behavior problems. The seventh and eighth

graders at the early starting middle school obtained about hr less sleep each night, which

amounts to about 3.5 hr less sleep over a 5-night school week. Furthermore, after students had

been on their school schedules for over 6 months, those at the early starting school reported more

sleepwake behavior problems, raising questions about the longer range negative implications of

early start times for young adolescents. In addition to the sleep deficit, school records indicated

that students at the earlier starting school were tardy four times more frequently, and eighth

graders at the earlier starting school obtained significantly worse average grades than the eighth
graders at the comparison, later starting school.

A 2011 study of Israeli middle school students found significant improvement in

mathematics and alphabet attention tasks when classes were delayed by one hour to 8:30

a.m. The study strongly recommends that middle schools should consider delaying the school

starting time by at least one hour. Such a change could enhance students cognitive performance

by improving their attention level, increasing rate of performance, as well as reducing their

mistakes and impulsivity. Similarly, when start times were delayed by one hour to 9:30 a.m.,

Norwegian 10th graders demonstrated improved performance in reaction time tests (e.g.

psychomotor vigilance tasks), proven as valid predictors of performance and levels of fatigue.

Recent meta-analyses of school start time studies from CDC and Yale University found

later scheduling associated with longer sleep, improved attendance, and significant declines in

tardiness. Later start times were also associated with reductions in falling asleep in class and

presenteeism (struggling to stay awake during class). Notably, regular school attendance is

positively associated with academic achievement and obviously, everybody learns better when

theyre awake.

The Yale University research team found later school scheduling associated with

evidence of improved academic functioning, while CDC and multi-agency scientists judged the

evidence relatively weak. Remarkably, all three meta-analyses accorded studies relying upon

limited assessment periods and self-reported grades the same value as those relying upon years

of data gathered from more objective measures.

Economists, by contrast, rely primarily on decades of standardized test scores data

collected by fellow economists without regard to sleep duration (i.e., Carrell, et al., Cortes, et

al., Edwards, Hinrichs), in determining the fiscal and achievement impact of school

scheduling. The United States Air Force Academy study, infra, in particular, is believed to

capture the causal effect of school start times on adolescent academic performance.

In a 2012 study not considered in the meta-analyses, Texas A&M University Associate

Professor of Public Policy Kalena Cortes, et al., examined how high school students perform in

morning versus afternoon classes in Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in

the U.S., where classes typically begin at 8:00 a.m. and students are commonly tardy. Examining

data obtained from the years 1993-94 to 2005-06, the authors found students were absent roughly

six more days per year in first period relative to other periods. Student grades and test score

performance were notably lower in first-period courses. For example, students assigned to a

math class in first period perform systematically worse on the end-of-year standardized

mathematics exams, whereas students assigned to English during first period perform worse on

the English exams. Having math in first period reduced test scores in all subjects and reduced

grades in future classes.

Former Georgetown University Assistant Professor of Public Policy Peter Hinrichs(now a

research economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland) has

found later start times had no effect on ACT college entrance exam testing scores in

Minnesota between 1993 and 2002. As Hinrichs points out, however, only 59-66% of Minnesota

students sat for the ACT test. Hinrichs additionally observes that the ACT is generally given

early on Saturday mornings at a uniform time

Duke University recently moved its earliest class time from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. One

motivation behind the change was to give sleep deprived students a chance to rest more

before class. The new policy was counterproductive: the average student ended up going to class

earlier since many classes were moved from the common 9:10 a.m. start time to the new 8:30

a.m. slot. Regardless, the adminis- tration used sleep as a pretext for the policy change (Carleton,


Sleepy adolescents have doubtlessly been a problem for a long time. However, it is only

since the late 1980s that this issue has progressed from teachers anecdotes of students falling

asleep in class and parental complaints of daily struggles to get their children out of bed to

scientific investigations into the causes and consequences of insufficient sleep.

Most adolescents may need at least 9 hours sleep per night; however, fewer than 8% of

high school students report getting this amount. Less than a third of students report 8 or more

hours of sleep, and this proportion decreases as school grade level increases so that fewer than a

quarter of high school seniors get this amount. Healthy People 2020, a national initiative

designed to guide disease prevention and health promotion efforts to improve the health of all

Americans, contains 4 objectives related to sleep, including one for adolescents. This objective is

to increase the proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 who get sufficient sleep (defined as

8 or more hours of sleep on an average school night).

Insufficient sleep in children and adolescents has been shown to be associated with a

wide variety of adverse outcomes in multiple aspects of their lives from poor mental and

physical health to behavioral problems and poor academic grades. Insufficient sleep has been

linked to excess weight, decreased physical activity, and increased food intake, possibly due to
alterations in appetite-regulating hormones. Results of investigations into longitudinal changes in

weight attributable to sleep duration, however, have been mixed.

A solid body of literature has found that insufficient sleep in this young population is tied

to poor mental health, including depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation. In

addition, a few studies have shown an association between insufficient sleep and unhealthy risk

behaviors including alcohol use, tobacco smoking marijuana use use of other illicit/prescription

drugs, unhealthy weight control strategies, and recent sexual activity. Other factors that have

been found to be associated with insufficient sleep include risk-taking

behaviors, bullying, school violence-related behaviors, and physical fighting. Short sleep

duration has also been found to be associated with a higher risk of unintentional injury. Finally,

students who do not get enough sleep also may be more likely to have problems paying attention

and poor academic performance, although not all research agrees. One of these negative studies

failed to find a correlation between school night sleep duration and grade point

average. However, class grading and subsequently grade point averages are not standardized and

may vary by subject, teacher, and school. That study also did not adjust by sex of student, which

was a strong predictor of grade point average. Ming et al. found that students with a sleep

length of less than 7 hours on both weekdays and weekends exhibited poorer performance, while

those who made up this sleep loss on weekends did not. That study also relied on a non-

standardized measure of academic performance and did not adjust for variables such as grade in

school, which is strongly related to prevalence of insufficient sleep.

Adolescents tend to get insufficient sleep because of a combination of late bedtimes and

early rise times. External factors that contribute to later bedtimes among adolescents include an

increase in schoolwork; participation in afterschool activities, including employment; fewer

parent-set bedtimes; and late-night use of technology in the bedroom. Biology also plays a part in

later bedtimes among adolescents. One of the early changes associated with puberty is alteration

of a childs circadian rhythms, such that adolescents are more alert in the afternoons and

evenings and require morning sleep. Their natural body clocks can keep adolescents awake until

11 PM or later, in spite of going to bed earlier and good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding

stimulating activity at night and minimizing caffeine intake in the afternoon or evening. School-

based sleep promotion programs have been tried as a means of improving sleep hygiene among

adolescents. However, these programs may improve knowledge of sleep without having a

significant effect on behavior.

Rise times, on the other hand, are primarily determined by a single factorschool start

times. Delaying school start times for adolescents has been proposed as a policy change to

address insufficient sleep in this population and potentially to improve students academic

performance, reduce engagement in risk behaviors, and improve health. In 2014, the American

Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement urging middle and high schools to adjust

start times to permit students to obtain adequate sleep and improve physical and mental health,

safety, academic performance, and quality of life. This paper reviews studies examining the

association between school start times, sleep, and other outcomes including academic

performance, mental health, and motor vehicle collisions among adolescent students. This paper,

and especially the table provided, is intended to be a resource for educators, parents, and other

stakeholders who wish to learn more about the impact of changing school start times for


Most of the literature analyzing the length of the school day has focused on developed

countries, and particularly in the United States. A large proportion of these studies have looked
at the impact of extending the length of kindergarten. In a meta-analysis of the literature, Cooper

et al. (2010) found that attending a full-day kindergarten was positively associated with academic

achievement, compared to a half-day kindergarten, but the effect generally seemed to fade-out by

third grade. They also found a significant correlation between attending a full day and the childs

self-confidence and ability to work and play with others. However, they found that children

attending a full-day kindergarten did not have as positive an attitude toward school, and had

more behavioral problems. Rathburn (2010) explored the relationships between full-day

kindergarten program factors and public school childrens gains in reading test scores. She found

evidence that children who attended kindergarten programs that devoted a larger portion of the

school day to academic instruction (particularly reading instruction) made greater gains in

reading over the school year than children who spend less time in such instruction. However, the

effects of a full-day kindergarten seem to fade out beyond the kindergarten year, something that

might be related to summer learning loss (Redd et al., 2012; Cooper, Nye and Charlton, 1996).

Although there is a large literature on the impact of school time in early education

programs, little is known about the impact on K-12 education. This is partly due to the small

variation in the length of the school day across schools districts (in the US), or municipalities (in

other countries), or to variations in length that are directly related to resources, which makes it

difficult to estimate the impact of longer school days or longer school years. Some of the studies

that have used identification strategies that allow them to establish a causal impact of school time

on student outcomes have shown that spending more time in school could improve academic

achievement and could benefits students, families and societies by reducing teen pregnancies

(Kruger and Berthelon, 2011) and crime rates (Jacob and Lefgren, 2003).

There are a few papers that have analyzed variations in the length of instructional time
across countries. Using data from the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment.

5 for over 50 countries, Lavy (2015) found evidence that instructional time was positively

and significantly related to test scores both in developed and developing countries. However, the

estimated effect for developing countries was much lower than the effect size in developed

countries. Rivkin and Schiman (2015) looked at the relation between instructional time and the

2009 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) test scores results for 72

countries. They also found that achievement increases with more instructional time, and that the

increase varies by the amount of time and classroom environment.

The impact of more instructional time on student outcomes tends to be larger for students

from poorer backgrounds or the most at-risk children. For example, Olsen and Zigler (1989)

found that in general, extended-day programs in kindergarten seemed to increase standardized

test scores in the short term, particularly for disadvantaged, bilingual, or least-ready for school

children. Cooper et al. (2010) compared evaluations of full-day kindergarten programs in urban

versus nonurban settings, and concluded that these programs had a significantly stronger

association with higher academic achievement for children attending in an urban setting than

those in non-urban communities. They suggested that children attending in urban settings were

more likely to come from poorer backgrounds, so this could be taken as indirect evidence of a

potentially greater impact of full-day kindergarten for poorer children. Harn, Linan-Thompson,

and Roberts (2008) analyzed the impact of intensifying instructional time on early literacy skills

for the most at-risk first graders. They concluded that the students receiving more intensive

interventions (more instructional time) made significantly more progress across a range of early

reading measures.
Two journal articles that Wahlstrom has reviewed but have not yet been published reach

similar conclusions. So did a controlled experiment completed by the U.S. Air Force Academy,

which required different sets of cadets to begin at different times during their freshman year. A

2012 study of North Carolina school districts that varied school times because of transportation

problems showed that later start times correlated with higher scores in math and reading. Still

other studies indicate that delaying start times raises attendance, lowers depression rates and

reduces car crashes among teens, all because they are getting more of the extra sleep they need.

And the later the delay, the greater the payoff. In various studies, school districts that

shifted from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. saw more benefits than those that shifted from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m.

Studies in Brazil, Italy and Israel showed similar improvements in grades. The key is allowing

teens to get at least eight hours of sleep, preferably nine. In Europe, it is rare for high school to

start before 9:00 a.m.

Studies also show that common arguments against later start times ring hollow. In

hundreds of districts that have made the change, students do not have a harder time fitting in

after-school activities such as sports or in keeping part-time jobs. Once these school districts

change, they don't want to go back, Wahlstrom says.