Impact of Calendar on Student Achievement, Gender, and Ethnicity in Year-Round Schools
The achievement gap between Black and White students across the country continues to challenge school systems to rethink current initiatives and programs already in place. While the gap has narrowed since the late 1980s, advancement has been slow and minimal (Education Commission of the States, 2003). Present research has identified numerous factors that can be attributed to the achievement gap. While there is not one solution to closing the achievement gap, researchers indicate the need to reduce class sizes, increase parent involvement, develop year-round programs, and offer incentives to teachers in needy schools (Flannery, 2005). Year-round education is one example of the many reforms that teachers and students across the nation are involved in today (Kneese, 1996). Year-round education offers a different approach to using instructional time and restructuring the traditional school calendar. Rearranging the calendar allows for shorter breaks of time out to be offered throughout the year and eliminates the traditional three-month summer. Numerous research studies were examined to determine if there are benefits of a year-round program, the effects of implementing a non-traditional calendar to help eliminate the achievement gap, the benefits on student academic performance in Reading and Math in grades three and five; and the impact on gender and ethnicity achievement while focusing on eliminating the achievement gap. Current research indicates that year-round education and the benefits to students are inconclusive and that further research is needed (Kneese, 1996). McMillen's (2001) study reports that year-round students do not outperform traditional education students. However, certain subgroups, such as students considered at-risk, may benefit more from a year-round calendar. The year-round calendar may reduce the achievement gap (Cooper, Valentine, Charlton, and Melson, 2003). This paper focused on student achievement, gender and ethnicity in a Title I year-round setting.