Research: Early School Start Times Hurt Students, Hinder Performance

Dian Schaffhause, THE Journal, Sept 13, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have always wondered why schools put mathematics and logic courses first thing in the morning (I have more than one such course at 8:00 a.m., an hour I was never able to devote to abstract thought and formal reasoning). Now according to this report it might not just be me - it might be that there is an illogic about the course schedule. "Educators tend to think that adolescents learn best in the morning and if they simply went to sleep earlier, it would improve their concentration." So they simply put the hardest stuff first! And thereby ensured the worst possible outcome. So count this as my vote for the remedy proposed here - 10:00 a.m. starts for high school, 11:00 a.m. starts for university (by my fourth year I had rigged my schedule to start no sooner than 11:00 - and got my first perfect 4.0 GPA).

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