Many districts in smaller, rural areas of the US have switched to four-day school weeks with lengthened school days, to ease financial pressure on districts. To examine the effects of these four-day weeks on achievement, researchers at Georgia State University and Montana State University compared the Colorado Student Assessment Program’s (CSAP) fourth grade (age 9/10) reading and fifth grade (age 10/11) maths scores one year before the schedule change to the following three years after the change. One-third of Colorado’s districts implement a four-day school week.
Results showed that after switching to the four-day week, the percentage of pupils scoring proficient or better in maths actually increased, while scores in reading were not affected. They also found that the shortened week lowered teacher and pupil absenteeism. Researchers noted that these results were for rural areas only, and that more research would need to be done to determine if urban areas could benefit from such a change.
Source: Does Shortening the School Week Impact Student Performance? Evidence from the Four-Day School Week (2015), Andrew Young School of Policy Studies/Georgia State University.