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ERIC Number: ED563107
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative: Final Study Findings
Checkoway, Amy; Gamse, Beth; Velez, Melissa; Linkow, Tamara
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) initiative provides grants to selected schools to redesign their schedules by adding 300-plus instructional hours to the school year to improve outcomes, broaden enrichment opportunities, and provide teachers with more planning and professional development time. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and Abt Associates, with grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences (IES), completed a five year study of the ELT initiative to examine three primary research questions: (1) How has expanded learning time been implemented in schools that receive ELT grants?; (2) What are the outcomes of expanded learning time for schools, students, and teachers?; and (3) What is the relationship between implementation and outcomes? This study included 24 elementary, middle, and K-8 ELT schools that were funded by the state and 25 matched comparison schools. As random assignment of schools or students to ELT was not feasible, this study's impact analysis relies upon a strong longitudinal quasi-experimental design: a comparative interrupted time-series approach that leverages pre-program data and data from matched comparison schools to produce estimated effects representing differences between ELT and comparison schools beyond what one might expect given pre-program measures and other secular initiatives affecting all schools. Analyses of non-academic outcomes rely on cross-sectional survey data and use multi-level models that produce estimates of differences between ELT and comparison schools to approximate what would have happened in the absence of ELT. Each year, longitudinal student-level MCAS and other extant data for both ELT and matched comparison schools are analyzed. One of the study's key contributions was to integrate implementation and outcomes data using an index based on principles of effective ELT operation; this implementation index provides a measure of fidelity that can be used both to understand school-level implementation and to explore relationships between implementation and outcomes. Findings from the study reveal the following: (1) More ELT teachers were satisfied with time available for instruction and planning, and reported that they spend sufficient instructional time with students. Fewer ELT teachers reported that student academic performance and homework completion rates were problem areas; (2) More teachers in ELT schools reported that teacher and staff fatigue, as well as student fatigue, were problems in their respective schools; (3) Generally, there were no statistically significant effects of ELT on student achievement; (4) Descriptive analysis linking the level of implementation in ELT schools and student achievement outcomes indicate no clear patterns or meaningful relationships; (5) Exploratory analysis of differential effects of ELT in higher- versus lower-implementing schools indicates minimal heterogeneity in the effect by the level of ELT implementation; and (6) The school reform landscape is dynamic; each year, more schools (outside of this ELT initiative) appear to be expanding the amount of time in their school year as well as implementing reforms consistent with the core ELT components. Exhibits are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE); Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Abt Associates, Inc.
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
IES Funded: Yes