Also called extended learning time or expanded learning time, extended learning is all about educational programs or strategies intended to increase the amount of time students are learning, for varied purposes, such as: improving academic achievement and test scores, reducing learning loss, learning gaps, and achievement gaps. Since extended learning time is needed only when students are not performing or achieving at expected levels, extended learning time can, therefore, be considered an effective strategy. For optional learning-enrichment programs, which require increasing the amount of time for students to learn, this cannot be considered under the extended learning time, because it has a different objective and it’s viewed as elective or non-required opportunities for students to enhance or further their education. Increasing the amount of time, by extending school days and school weeks, can be considered another form of strategy under the extended learning time program, for students to further be involved in the following: engage in learning opportunities in areas, such as sports and arts; learn through non-traditional experiences such as apprenticeships or internships; or get academic support as part of their school days or years.
Since extended learning time varies from state to state or from school to school in the US, the following is a representative list of widely used strategies.
Expanded school years are added to the number of days students are required to attend school. Since states determine the minimum number of required attendance days, passing legislation by the state or by the department of education, can validate the extended learning time program and, thereby, that increase the minimum school attendance requirements.
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Students can receive instructions from teachers and other educators and have the following learning activities: participate in clubs, competitions, performances; learn through nontraditional learning pathways, such as internships and apprenticeships; or receive academic support from educators and specialists, with the expanded school days and school weeks program.
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Schools may also increase or supplement instructional time during the regular school day, in order to apply their extended learning time for students. Example models of this strategy are: schools may eliminate study halls and replace them with academic courses, like tutoring sessions; schools may also increase course and credit requirements for graduation (math or science), which require students to spend more time learning these subjects.
Other strategies are the summer school, winter sessions, school-break programs, and summer-bridge programs, which extend learning time for the students who are performing poorly in their academics, so that they can have the opportunity to accelerate their learning progress.
School-run or school-affiliated learning opportunities, like the before-school programs and after-school programs, are introduced for the purpose of supplementing student learning.
New learning technologies, such as instructional interactions found online, are introduced and which is the applications from digital and online learning options, which is considered as an extended learning time, and which can be given when students have long completed their homework or project outside of regular school hours.