The Alternative? Alternative School Calendars’ Effects on Nonacademic Data in Independent Districts
Year of Publication
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
This study measures the effect of alternative school calendars, otherwise known as year-round calendars, on “nonacademic data”, which includes average daily attendance rates, retention rates (where retention rate is defined as percentage of students held back a grade level), and dropout rates. This measurement will be done on Kentucky’s Independent School districts, which have a unique advantage of never having a problem with overcrowding (which will be explained as an important consideration for measurements of effects of alternative school calendars) and in whose districts the majority of alternative school calendars in Kentucky have been implemented. The study will be performed with a dataset that spans four school years, from 2000-2001 to 2003- 2004.
This study will give a brief history of the alternative school calendar movement, explain industry-specific terminology, take a broad stroke over subtleties in and the underlying philosophy of the alternative school calendar debates, and discuss relevant literature pertaining to alternative school calendars being utilized in secondary schools and their subsequent effects on academic achievement (read test scores), dropout rates, retention rates (as defined as the inverse of dropout rate: the percentage of students kept from dropping out), motivation, and burnout.
Using explanatory variables that fall under the umbrellas of teacher training, relative wealth of a district, parental involvement, demographic, and income measures, a Fixed Effects model and a Between-Effects model will be used to measure the dependent variables “average daily attendance,” “dropout rates,” and “retention rates (as defined as the percentage of students held back a grade level)”. The models will be run twice, once without demographic and income variables and once with these variables included.
The results will find that, in both scenarios, the majority of any effect on the dependent variables results from undefined fixed effects. Without income effects and with regards to dropout rates and retention rates, having an alternative school calendar does, on average, over time and across districts, have a positive effect on decreasing these rates. With income effects included the aforementioned results are made irrelevant. The income variable had a positive effect on dropout rates in both models, a negative effect on average daily attendance in both models, and, interestingly, a negative effect on percentage of students held back a grade in between years, but on average over time and across districts having a positive effect on this variable.
Grinstead, Nick, "The Alternative? Alternative School Calendars’ Effects on Nonacademic Data in Independent Districts" (2008). MPA/MPP/MPFM Capstone Projects. 155.