I remember when I first started college, I was shocked that none of my classes started until 10:00am. It was a great change from high school, when my first class began at 7:50am. I was also very excited because this later starting time meant I would get to sleep in later in the mornings. Score!
Evidently I was not the only one who thought that high schools start a little too early. A few years ago, Finley Edwards, a student at Colby College, began a study concerning the starting times of high schools and how well students do in school. He was inspired by his little sister’s early mornings: she woke up at 6:30 each day and class started at 7:15.
“I thought that this couldn’t possibly be good,” he recalls. Sadly, there wasn’t any previous research available for Edwards to read about this subject, so he decided to make his own. Now, he has found that “start times really do matter. We can see clear increases of academic performance from just starting school later.”
Edwards studied middle school student who started classes an hour later than his sister started school. He found that students who start school a little later in the day increase their standardized test scores, on average, by 2.2 percentile points in math and by 1.5 percentile points in reading. He also found that starting their school day a little later had other benefits for the students, such as less time spent watching television (12 minutes less per day) and more time spent doing homework (9 minutes more each day).
With these results, I would think that schools would be changing their time schedules right away. Sadly, there are other factors at play here.
“In these tough times, you may have a useful investment like getting rid of tiered bussing [to start school later] and it gets passed over because there’s a limited budget,” said Jonah Rockoff, an economist at Columbia University.
Personally, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Edwards’ new research will eventually take hold and high school students across the country will be getting more sleep each morning.
Via The Huffington Post