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ERIC Number: ED544704
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 70
Delayed High School Starting Times. Information Capsule. Volume 0908
Blazer, Christie
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Educators around the nation are considering pushing high school starting times back until later in the morning, based on evidence suggesting that amount of sleep and circadian rhythms play a part in adolescents' academic performance. While research confirms that adolescents do not get enough sleep and that insufficient sleep can negatively impact students' performance, studies have not yet determined if delaying the start of the high school day is the answer to this problem. In general, research suggests that students attending high schools with delayed starting times sleep longer than students attending schools with earlier starting times and that when schools start later, they tend to have lower levels of tardiness and, in some cases, absenteeism. However, no definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the impact of delayed starting times on students' academic performance. After-school jobs appear to be unaffected by delayed schedules, although later release times have been reported to cause some conflicts between after-school activities and last period classes. While teacher and student perceptions of delayed high school starting times are mixed, parent opposition to schedule changes is one of the biggest obstacles districts face. Considering the lack of empirical evidence supporting improved academic achievement as a result of setting back school starting times and the potential for collateral harm the change might cause to other facets of school, personal, and family life, school districts should thoroughly deliberate before instituting such a change in policy. Although the research to date has not empirically demonstrated reliable improvements in academic achievement, the multitude of personal and social benefits derived from starting school later may by themselves be sufficient justification. Therefore, starting times at a limited number of senior high schools willing to experiment and pilot test the policy, accompanied by a thorough follow-up evaluation regarding the efficacy of the policy change, might be a prudent course of action. In addition to a review of the relevant research, this Information Capsule includes a discussion of key issues districts must resolve before delaying high school starting times; guidelines for districts to follow when they delay high school starting times; and a summary of alternative ways schools can improve students' academic performance when delayed starting times are not an option.
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 1450 NE Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132. Tel: 305-995-1000; Fax: 305-995-7521; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Research Services