What Do We Actually Know about the Four-Day School Week?

Jun 2018

 

This brief answers common questions about the spread of the four-day school week across the country and raises questions about the impacts on students and districts.

Scope of the Four-Day School Week

Currently, 25 states have at least one district using a four-day school week, numbering at least 550 districts nationwide. Most of these districts are small and rural, but some are close to urban centers.


Current Trends

In the past five years, we have observed several trends:

  • New states are adopting the four-day school week
  • Some states are implementing stricter standards of accountability
  • Some charter schools operate on four-day schedules
  • A small number of districts reinstate a five-day schedule
  • Little is known about the effects on high school students and nonrural students
  • Little is known about the effects on communities and districts
  • Some districts hope to use the fifth, unscheduled day for student enrichment
What Is Not Known About the Four-Day Schedule

Several gaps in knowledge are identified:

  • Why districts are still interested in moving to a four-day school week
  • The impacts on students
  • How fifth-day programming can fill gaps and provide quality enrichment opportunities for students
  • The effect on district management
  • How four-day districts can be held accountable