Every year, in the educational arena, there seems to be a new idea--or a new twist on an old idea, to enhance student learning. To that end, a longer school year has been suggested in the Philadelphia area. One area school has tried this and experienced little academic growth. I am not sure what the school used to measure this 'academic growth', but I believe it was the results of standardized test scores. But must EVERYTHING be measured by standardardized test scores? Yes, I realize that state tests are necessary to ensure accountability and to measure student achievement, but student learning can not and should not always be qualified in terms of standardized test scores.
To me, the real problem with student learning is the mediocrity that we are forced to accept. In many schools, teachers have to give passing grades and endure 'social' promotions. I am not of believer of giving a lot of 'A's, but students and parents expect it--even of shoddy or incomplete work. When I was a student, which was decades ago, getting an A was akin to seeking the Holy Grail...and when I received an A, I knew it was deserved.
Would a longer year help student learning? Would it reduce the acceptance of mediocrity. Here's another author's take on it:
Tweaking the American School Year
The American school year should be longer, with shorter days, and more vacations, because students could then acquire the sufficient amount of rest necessary for success.