Fourteen of the district’s middle schools changed their start times, including seven schools that changed their start times by 30 minutes or more. In this study, I use data from Wake County, North Carolina, to examine how start times affect the performance of middle school students on standardized tests. But if beginning the school day early in the morning has a negative impact on academic performance, staggering start times may not be worth the cost savings. However, a remaining concern is that the student composition of schools may change. First, administrative data for every student in North Carolina between 2000 and 2006 were provided by the North Carolina Education Research Data Center. But if beginning the school day early in the morning has a negative impact on academic performance, stagg… The study also found that school starts times varied greatly by state, with schools in Louisiana starting at 7:40 a.m., on average, and schools in Alaska starting at 8:33 a.m., on average. 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637-2902 Email [email protected], Web-only content Copyright © 2020 President & Fellows of Harvard College. In the 1950 and 1960s, most In the 1950′s and 1960′s, most schools started between 8:30-9:00 (National Center for Health Research) Among an estimated 39,700 U.S. public middle, high, and combined schools, the average start time is 8:03 a.m. (CDC Report 2015, based on 2011-12 data). Later start times might be healthier, but they still present difficulties that need to be overcome. It also reflects a growing downward trend from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 surveys. The chronic sleep deprivation is now understood to be inherent to the school system. However, I also find evidence of other potential mechanisms; later start times are associated with reduced television viewing, increased time spent on homework, and fewer absences. That way, when you show up on your first day of school, you may already recognize a few familiar faces. Journal content Copyright © 2020 Education Next Institute, Inc. Time for School? In other words, it may be that it is not so much early start times that matter but rather early end times. In both math and reading, the start-time effect is roughly the same for students age 11 and 12, but increases for those age 13 and is largest for students age 14 (see Figure 2). To address this issue, I estimate the impact of later start times using only data from students who experience a change in start time while remaining in the same school. The data used in this study come from two sources. Many adolescents struggle to wake up early for school. School start times vary considerably, both across the nation and within individual communities, with some schools beginning earlier than 7:30 a.m. and others after 9:00 a.m. I standardize the raw test scores by assigning each student a percentile score, which indicates performance relative to all North Carolina students who took the test in the same grade and year. I still control for all of the student and school characteristics mentioned earlier. Start School Later, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to healthy, safe, equitable school hours. If you have an active local petition, please provide your link in the comment box. Because magnet schools start earlier and enroll students who tend to have higher test scores, I exclude magnet schools from my main analysis. First, I compare the reading and math scores of students in schools that start earlier to the scores of similar students at later-starting schools. 20-30% of high school students and 6% of middle school students fall asleep in school each day. The school day at all schools is the same length. For example, high-achieving students in a school that changed to an earlier start time might transfer to private schools. (, When schools have delayed the start of the school day, communities have seen reduced tardiness, sleeping in class, and car crash rates, as well as improved attendance, graduation rates, and standardized test scores. What time should the school day begin? Numerous studies, including those published by Elizabeth Baroni and her colleagues in 2004 and by Fred Danner and Barbara Phillips in 2008, have found that earlier start times may result in fewer hours of sleep, as students may not fully compensate for earlier rising times with earlier bedtimes. Fax (617) 496-4428 The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2019 showed that 77.0% of U.S. high school students get fewer than 8 hours of sleep on school nights. Most high schools hold a freshman orientation before school actually starts. It's sparked a discussion about the pros and cons of starting school at a later time. Teachers are often scapegoats for a student’s failure when in reality it is a combination of factors outside the … For example, it could be the case that more-motivated principals lobby the district to receive a later start time and also employ other strategies that boost student achievement. (, Bills to study, incentivize, or mandate healthy school start times, Comparative Bell Times ‐ Large Suburban Districts, Select School Districts with Later Start Times Grid, Sleep Cycle Report on Teen Sleep Patterns Around the World, how wake up time correlates with sleep and mood. Previous research tends to find that students in early-starting schools are more likely to be tardy to school and to be absent. (, Among an estimated 39,700 U.S. public middle, high, and combined schools, the. As this suggests, this method can only be used for the roughly 28 percent of students in my sample whose middle school changed its start time while they were enrolled. About 39 percent of WCPSS students attended magnet schools between 2000 and 2006. The data allow me to use several different methods to analyze the effect of start times on student achievement. For example, the effect of a one-hour later start time on math scores is roughly 14 percent of the black-white test-score gap, 40 percent of the gap between those eligible and those not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 85 percent of the gain associated with an additional year of parents’ education. The results indicate that a one-hour delay in start time increases standardized test scores on both math and reading tests by roughly 3 percentile points. First, daytime sleepiness can increase during adolescence, even when teens’ schedules allow for optimal amounts of sleep (Carskado… The second source of data is the start times for each Wake County public school, which are recorded annually and were provided by the WCPSS transportation department. With continuing research into teen “body clocks,” educators are questioning whether early high school start times make sense. Specifically, I control for the student’s race, limited English status, free or reduced-price lunch eligibility, years of parents’ education, and whether the student is academically gifted or has a learning disability.