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Is four less than five? Effects of four-day school weeks on student achievement in Oregon

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  • Thompson, Paul N.

Abstract

The achievement impacts of educational input quality have been well documented, but the quantity of exposure to the school environment – as measured by instructional time – also has profound impacts on students. This study examines the achievement impacts of a key instructional time reducing cost savings policy – the four-day school week. Using 3rd through 8th grade test scores from Oregon from 2005 to 2019 in a difference-in-differences analysis, I find that math test scores decrease by between 0.037 and 0.059 standard deviations and reading scores decrease by between 0.033 and 0.042 standard deviations following the switch to the four-day school week. It appears that reductions in time in school, which amount to three to four hours per week, largely drive these achievement declines. Using four-day school week adoption as an instrument for weekly time in school, I find that a one-hour increase in weekly time in school leads to a 0.018 standard deviation increase in math achievement and a 0.006 standard deviation increase in reading achievement. Finally, I compare the cost savings-achievement trade-off of the four-day school week with other traditional cost savings approaches and find that the four-day school week yields a comparable cost savings-achievement trade-off to many of these other interventions.

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  • Thompson, Paul N., 2021. "Is four less than five? Effects of four-day school weeks on student achievement in Oregon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:193:y:2021:i:c:s0047272720301729
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104308
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    Cited by:

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    2. Acton, Riley & Orr, Cody & Rogers, Salem, 2023. "Returns to School Spending in Rural America: Evidence from Wisconsin's Sparsity Aid Program," IZA Discussion Papers 15915, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Thompson, Paul N. & Ward, Jason, 2021. "Only a Matter of Time? The Role of Time in School on Four-Day School Week Achievement Impacts," IZA Discussion Papers 14461, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Thompson, Paul N. & Ward, Jason, 2022. "Only a matter of time? The role of time in school on four-day school week achievement impacts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    5. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2022. "Lifetime Consequences of Lost Instructional Time in the Classroom: Evidence from Shortened School Years," CESifo Working Paper Series 9892, CESifo.
    6. Kozhaya, Mireille & Martínez Flores, Fernanda, 2022. "School attendance and child labor: Evidence from Mexico’s Full-Time School program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).

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