- Report Published -
|Review of Year-Round Schools|
|Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission|
|HJR 646 (Regular Session, 2011)|
|House Joint Resolution 646 (2011) directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study the efficacy of year-round schools. During school year 2011-2012, nine elementary schools in Virginia operated on a year-round calendar in five divisions: City of Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Danville, City of Lynchburg, and City of Richmond. As part of the study, JLARC staff analyzed school-level Standards of Learning (SOL) test data for Virginia year-round schools that were operating in 2009 and expenditure data for selected year-round schools.|
The SOL test scores of the general student population were similar at year-round schools and traditional calendar schools, which suggests that a year-round calendar does not necessarily improve the test scores of all students. However, certain student subgroups, in particular black students, were more likely to improve their SOL test scores at a faster rate at year-round schools. For example, the average English SOL test scores for black students at 74 percent of year-round schools improved at a faster rate than the average scores of their peers at traditional calendar schools. The average scores of black students on 2009 SOL tests were also higher than predicted at many year-round schools.
Operating a year-round school in Virginia increased annual school costs by about three percent, on average. This does not include costs of transportation or food service, however, because school divisions could not determine those costs.
Certain school divisions may want to consider using year-round calendars as a method to improve student achievement, particularly divisions with high percentages of the student groups that appear to benefit from year-round schools—black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, and limited English proficient students.