A majority students, teachers and parents in the Stockton R-I school district seem to believe the four-day school week, now in its sixth year of implementation, has been a net positive in terms of overall educational results.

A recent online survey conducted by the district showed overwhelming support for continuing the four-day week. More than 85% of teachers agreed there has been a visible increase in student performance under the four-day system. Almost three-fourths of parents said the four-day week has had a positive impact on their family, while 83% of students claimed it had a positive impact on their education. Other results from the survey appeared in the Jan. 1, edition of the Republican.

The positive opinion of the four-day week is further amplified by recent results from the latest edition of the American College Test.

Stockton students taking the ACT test in 2019 showed a reversal of a downward trend from the previous four years in English, math, reading, science and composite scores. The average scores of 66 students tested were 20.2 for English, 20.7 for math, 21.9 for reading, 21.5 for science and 21.2 for composite. All scores except for English were at least four-tenths of a point above the state average, with only English coming in a tenth below the median. The 2019 class was the first to be taught under the four-day week all four years of high school.

The same 2019 ACT report showed Stockton students rated at or above the state average in terms of readiness for college-level coursework in English (Stockton 62%, state 62%), algebra (Stockton 41%, state 37%), social science (Stockton 47%, state 45%) and biology (Stockton 42%, state 36%). ACT designates benchmark scores in each subject to indicate a 50% chance of making a B grade or better in college or a 75% of at least a C. For all four subjects together, Stockton rates at 23% for college readiness compared to 25% statewide.

Meanwhile, results from the MAP test also appear to show Stockton to be on the right track in most areas of study, although R-I board chairman Bill Crabtree cautions against making comparisons from previous years because the standards have changed over time.

“If you had the same measurements in place year after year, then you could compare,” Crabtree said. “To me the more important numbers are the ACTs.”

Crabtree noted students are getting more actual class time — 44 hours’ worth per year — under the four-day week than they were under the five-day week. He also pointed to the positive feedback from the online survey.

“In today’s climate, the overwhelming majority are in favor of the four-day week, and more schools are trending toward the four-day week,” Crabtree said.

Since 2013, a growing number of southwest Missouri school districts have switched to the four-day week, including Stockton, Everton, Fair Grove, Greenfield, Halfway, Miller, Morrisville, Osceola, Pierce City, Pleasant Hope, Skyline, Walnut Grove and Weaubleau.

A public forum to ratify the 2020-21 calendar for Stockton schools is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, in superintendent’s office, prior to the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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