Extended Learning Time

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Beginning this school year, 35 schools in five states — Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee — will take part in a new program intended to increase student achievement by adding up to 300 hours of additional learning time to the school year.

These schools, which together enroll about 17,500 students, are part of a program coordinated by the National Center of Time and Learning (NCTL), a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, as well as by the Ford Foundation and state education officials. Participation will be broadened after the first year, with an additional 40 schools enrolling about 20,000 students scheduled to join the effort in the second and third years.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average school year in the U.S. lasts 180 days, with 6.6 hours in the average school day. However, many U.S. schools have experimented with expanded learning time (ELT) since the 1970s, by incorporating a longer school day or longer school year. Currently, at least 1,000 U.S. schools incorporate ELT into their instructional program, according to a 2010-2011 survey conducted by NCTL.

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