Urban Education

Research of Best Practices


Instruction Time

Effective urban educators created additional time for reading, writing, mathematics and science instruction. And, leaders in successful urban schools in high-poverty contexts extended time for instruction during the school day or beyond.
  • Effective urban educators created a mathematics tutoring program for high school students. Participants in the program met on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. for 30 weeks. Students in the program improved their mathematics skills and competence.
  • Additional time for instruction is also an integral part of the Success for All (SFA) reading program. Reading instruction in this program is based on current research into the ways children learn to read and write. K-6 students in the program were also offered 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction on a daily basis.
  • Leaders in successful urban schools in high-poverty contexts conducted efforts to reduce disruptions to teaching and increased their school's focus on academic instruction; for example, an uninterrupted 90-minute reading block. Even on shortened days (i.e., snow related), 90 minutes was allotted to reading and language arts.
  • As for instructional time and homework, the average mathematics scores of eight grade students increased as the amount of homework increased. In addition, eighth and twelfth grade students who reported doing mathematics problems every day had higher scores than students who reported doing the problems less frequently (NAEP 2000).
  • In 1998, fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade students who reported reading more pages daily in school and for homework had higher average scores than students who reported reading fewer pages daily.
  • Eight and twelfth grade students who wrote more than one draft of an assigned paper had higher writing scores than their peers who were not asked to do so (NAEP 1998). No relationship was discovered between student reports of writing more than one draft and student performance at the elementary level or fourth grade. At all three grades, the more frequently students discussed their studies with someone at home, the better their average writing scores.

Eighth and twelfth grade students who participated in hands-on science activities at least once or twice a week had higher science scores (and were more likely to be at or above the suggested proficiency level) than students who only participated in hands-on activities once or twice a month. No differences were observed at the fourth grade level (NAEP 1999).



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