Extended school times in primary education

Start date: 06 augustus 2009
Increasing disadvantaged pupils' instruction time for math and language in primary education, is seen as a potentially effective way to raise their educational achievement, and close the gap with non-disadvantaged pupils. In the Netherlands, the ministry of Education, Culture and Science believes extending school times can be beneficial for disadvantaged Dutch primary school pupils' educational achievement. However, no evaluations of extended school time programs have taken place in the Netherlands, and the effectiveness of such programs, therefore, is not ensured.
Experience in extending school times has primarily been gained in the United States, and the vast majority of program evaluations have taken place there. Some of those evaluations find positive effects, and others find no effect of extending school times. The ambiguity of the available evidence is further obscured by the varying, but often poor, quality of that evidence.
Given that extending school times is costly, and that the available evidence is scant, ambiguous, and not necessarily valid for the Dutch situation, it is important that such an evaluation take place in the Netherlands. In April 2009, a ministry subsidy went into effect to support extended school time programs in Dutch primary education. TIER will evaluate the success of these programs and examine the conditions of their effectiveness and the mechanisms behind that (potential) effect.
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