Block Schedule: Fewer but Longer Classes (Editorial)


Emily Crider

A block schedule gives you longer but fewer classes.

An old concept of scheduling known as the ‘Block Schedule’ has become more and more popular and widely used by many high schools, one that I would recommend considering for our school.

The official definition of a block schedule given by The Glossary of Education Reform says, “A block schedule is a system for scheduling the middle- or high-school day, typically by replacing a more traditional schedule of six or seven 40–50 minute daily periods with longer class periods that meet fewer times each day and week.” The most common forms of block scheduling include: “4X4”, alternating day, trimester, and Copernican.

In a 4X4 block schedule, students take four 90-minute classes every day, finishing a course in one semester rather than a full school year. With an alternating-day schedule, you still take 8 classes that are 90 minutes, but the classes are divided into two sets of four and  meet every other day.

A trimester schedule is a little different. You would take two or three core classes, each class meeting daily over three 60-day trimesters. For a Copernican schedule all your core academic subjects are longer while your elective periods are short.

There’s many pros that can be connected to block scheduling. According to the NPR article, “NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education,”  students have more time to learn the subject and complete work in longer class periods. Students are give more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day. Teachers are given more time for planning. With the classes being longer and their being fewer during the day its gives teachers more time for individualized instruction.

Where there are pros there are cons.  According to the “Research Spotlight on Block Scheduling,” researchers report that “student absences are detrimental because classes meet less frequently, usually only two and three times per week.”  If a student misses a day while using the block schedule, he/she is actually missing two or more days due to having such a long class period.

In a 4X4 schedule, all of the information that is usually taught in one year has to be covered in one semester. It’s especially difficult to cover necessary material for Advanced Placement in just one semester.

The seven day work schedule or “traditional schedule” isn’t all that perfect either. With seven classes to deal with each day the workload is so much higher. With more classes to go to you have less time to learn the needed material making school a bit more stressful.

Based on the pros and cons, I believe the block schedule would be best for Carlisle High School, providing us more learning time with less stress from a ton of classes.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2015-2016 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.