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 October 30, 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Officials in New Jersey and Maine have quarantined Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox, a move the White House doesn't seem to support. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) With start-ups like Postmates offering quick delivery of meals, groceries and other items through a smartphone app, the online world is delivering again. Duration: 01:39 Video provided by AFP
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