Debating the Effectiveness of Block Scheduling vs. 8 Period Scheduling Next School Year

By: Gabriella Nobou

As confirmed on May 19th, Conard will return to its former 8 period schedule next school year. While this is good news to some students, others share a preference for this year’s block scheduling. However, there are clear pros and cons to consider when advocating a preference for block scheduling next year. In addressing the negatives of the current block scheduling format, it is important to note that students may face an academic disadvantage due to the A/C day and B/D day setup excessively spacing out students’ weekly courses. Personally, I struggle to keep up in a class like math (B/D class) where I am constantly learning new units which are difficult to recall by the time we reconvene next class - between A/C days. With block scheduling there is substantial room made for an imbalance in the classes students are attending each week. Because of an excessive repetition of A/C days on several Wednesdays in a row, for example, it is easy to fall behind on my B/D day classes that I will only have twice a week. This struggle would be especially significant for students taking Advanced Placement classes next year, which are already difficult to keep up with. This is not only detrimental to my learning as a student, but can distort teachers’ lesson plans if their A/C classes are ahead of their B/D ones or vice versa. 

Next year’s 2:15 dismissal time would call for 90 minute blocks next school year. Seeing how difficult it is for the average student to stay engaged in one topic for that long, this is especially a disadvantage to students who already struggle with disassociation and attention deficit disorders. Hour and a half long classes can also lead to student habits of unproductivity with extra class time. Having classes that long can cause borderline disinterest in students as teachers expand on and reinforce already-taught lessons. In addition to this, due to longer classes, more information is bound to be introduced to students during class time, which they will then have to recall next class - which would be difficult between spaced-out classes as mentioned previously.

However, there are some positives to the block scheduling format that me and several other students in my classes have benefited from this year. One of these benefits is a lesser workload due to having only four classes each day and having those classes a few times a week rather than every day. Because of this, I am also given more time to complete assignments between the days that I have my other four blocks. Having only four classes each day due to block scheduling allowed for students to have some form of a break, rather than being ambushed with 8 classes to participate in and pay attention to each day. “It was kind of like a mental break in a way,” says sophomore Chase Rovero. 

Arguments for the effectiveness of traditional 8-period scheduling, however, include that:

  • 8 periods allow for frequent reinforcement of topics covered in class.

  • Students are able to form better relationships with classmates while seeing them on an everyday basis

  • Shorter class periods keep students engaged.

  • Students may focus better overall (especially those with academic disabilities)

 

Seeing that the 8-period schedule is Conard’s traditional scheduling format and was unchanged prior to the pandemic, it is inevitable that it is more effective, and impartial to student learning and student relationships with one another.