Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early elementary school start times tougher on economically advantaged children

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Summary:
Middle- and upper-class elementary school students demonstrated worse academic performance when they were required to start classes early, compared to peers whose school day started later, according to new research.

Middle- and upper-class elementary school students in Kentucky demonstrated worse academic performance when they were required to start classes early, compared to peers whose school day started later (stock image).
Credit: Nejron Photo / Fotolia

Middle- and upper-class elementary school students in Kentucky demonstrated worse academic performance when they were required to start classes early, compared to peers whose school day started later, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Related Articles


Researchers led by Peggy S. Keller, PhD, of the University of Kentucky, theorized that earlier school start times would be associated with lower standardized test scores, poorer attendance, more students being left back, lower school rank and school underperformance. They also expected that earlier start times would be especially risky for school performance standards in more disadvantaged schools, including Appalachian schools and those with a higher percentage of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches.

"What we found, however, was early start times were associated with worse performance in schools in more affluent districts -- that is, those with fewer kids getting free or reduced-cost lunches," Keller said. "For schools with more disadvantaged students, later start times did not seem to make a difference in performance, possibly because these children already have so many other risk factors."

The researchers examined data from 718 public elementary schools in Kentucky. Student performance was measured by looking at scores on a statewide standardized test that assessed reading, math, science, social studies and writing. They also looked at attendance rates, the number of students who were required to repeat a grade (retention rates) and teacher-student ratios. Results were published in APA's Journal of Educational Psychology.

"The relationship between earlier start times and poorer academic performance may be explained by the physical, behavioral and psychological ramifications of sleep deprivation," the researchers wrote. "Students may therefore lose the ability to remain alert and focused in the classroom." Getting less sleep might also increase the frequency and severity of illness among students, which could also lead to lagging performance, they said.

Another unexpected finding was higher rates of students repeating grades in schools with later start times. Every additional minute later a school started increased retention rates by 0.2 percent, the researchers found.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine student retention in relation to school start times, and it is therefore difficult to draw firm conclusions about this finding," Keller said. "However, given that other indices of school performance were improved at later school start times, one possible explanation is that once the average students begin to improve, students with learning difficulties have an especially hard time keeping up."

Most prior research on the effect of early school start times has focused on middle and high school students, on the theory that youngsters going through puberty need more sleep. The researchers in this study concluded that research on school start times shouldn't focus exclusively on adolescents.

They also suggested that delaying middle and high school start times at the expense of making elementary school start times earlier might be a bad idea. This is sometimes done to accommodate staggered bus scheduling. "Our findings suggest that these policy changes may simply be shifting the problem from adolescents to younger children, instead of eliminating it altogether," they wrote.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peggy S. Keller, Olivia A. Smith, Lauren R. Gilbert, Shuang Bi, Eric A. Haak, Joseph A. Buckhalt. Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2014; DOI: 10.1037/a0037195

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association (APA). "Early elementary school start times tougher on economically advantaged children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102503.htm>.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2014, June 17). Early elementary school start times tougher on economically advantaged children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102503.htm
American Psychological Association (APA). "Early elementary school start times tougher on economically advantaged children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102503.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins