There is a growing body of research that supports later start times for secondary students on the grounds of improved academic achievement. For a while, it has just been presupposed that this would apply to elementary students as well. That does not appear to be the case.
A new study from the American Educational Research Association finds little to no impact on elementary student achievement.
“We found earlier start times for elementary schoolers do not have the same negative effects as they do for middle and high schoolers,” said co-author of the study Sarah Crittenden Fuller. “For elementary students, earlier start times predicted only a slight increase in absences and a small increase in math scores.”
The study did find a marginal benefit for disadvantaged students but not enough to change the overall theme of the results.
Many school districts have made a push towards later starts but the research in this study suggests that the younger students don’t need that accommodation nearly as much as older ones which could inform the way school districts with limited resources stagger their transportation and start times.
Read the full study here. (Sage Journals)