The summary below presents the research evidence on block scheduling in the Australasian context.
The Teaching & Learning Toolkit focuses on impact; it presents an estimate of the average impact of block scheduling on learning progress, based on the synthesis of a large number of quantitative studies from around the world.
This page offers a summary and analysis of individual Australasian studies on block scheduling. In contrast to the Toolkit it includes studies which do not estimate impact, but instead investigate the implementation of interventions and how they are perceived by school leaders, teachers and students. This information is valuable for school leaders and teachers interested in finding out more about particular examples of block scheduling interventions that have been delivered in Australia and New Zealand.
Melbourne Graduate School of Education generated this summary and it is current for June 2016.
Summary of Australasian Research
Published post-2008 studies are yet to examine the impact of block scheduling on student learning in Australian schools. In New Zealand, there appears to be one relevant study within the context of designing effective extended learning episodes (Hipkins, Denny, Shanks & White, 2010). The study, based on the experience of one suburban school in South Auckland, involved 312 student survey respondents (Year 10 and 12) and 44 staff survey respondents. Focus groups were also conducted for both student year levels. The intervention involved the use of 100-minute lessons and the inclusion of a three-day learning episode each term, when the timetable was suspended and students worked on extended projects in mixed year-level groups.
In comparison to 50- or 100-minute lessons, students and staff perceived extended learning as more beneficial, more engaging and better for fostering Independent Learner Qualities, as long as the time and space was well managed, the aims of each day were clarified and clearly understood, and students took ownership of their own learning (Hipkins et al., 2010). Furthermore, 82 per cent of staff found 100-minute lessons more beneficial for students’ learning over 50-minute lessons, but only 43 per cent of students thought so (Hipkins et al., 2010).
Hipkins, R., Denny, M., Shanks, L., & White, K. (2010). Designing effective extended learning episodes: The Alfriston College Experience. Wellington, NZ: Teaching and Learning Research Initiative.
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Australia; New Zealand; block teaching; extended classes; schools; achievement; extended learning; extended learning episodes.