Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


School week -- Iowa; Schedules, School -- Iowa;


The purpose of this study was to review the four-day school week experiment as it had been employed in a number of schools outside the state of Iowa and to survey the superintendents in small Iowa school districts to determine their attitudes toward the four-day alternative schedule. The opinionnaire used in this study was designed to include the areas reviewed in the related literature. The review of the related literature revealed the first four-day experiment began in Unity, Maine in 1971. Basically the four-day school week was structured to include as much instructional time as the traditional five-day week. The four-day school week has enjoyed its greatest success in rural districts which cover large geographic areas. Very little has been published in the professional literature about the success of programs employing the alternative schedule; however, within each district evaluations and reports have been made. Significant four-day experiments were made and reported on in New Mexico, Oregon, Maine, Wyoming, Utah, and Minnesota. In Iowa, Urbana was the only district for which information, albeit very incomplete, was available. By far, Colorado has been the state with the most published reports on the four-day school week. The other states reviewed cited the Colorado report, criteria, and evaluations as part of the impetus for the experiments with the new calendar. The method of information-gathering used in this study was an opinionnaire mailed to the 130 superintendents of Iowa 1 s small school districts with enrollments under 400 students in grades K-12. One hundred twenty-three replies were received for a response rate of 94.6 percent. Data were tabulated and then analyzed. The study found the superintendents in Iowa 1 s small schools had been superintendents for nine years on the average and had a mean of six years of superintendency in their present district. The enrollment in their school districts averaged 296 students and 1,521 patrons. Their small school districts averaged ninety-five square miles and ran four regular bus routes. The survey instrument included the areas most often reported on in the related literature. In addition to demographic information, the areas surveyed included cost reductions in transportation, utility, and heating fuel. The survey also reported the superintendents• attitudes toward the four-day school week as they perceived it would affect student achievement, instructional efficiency, parental, teacher, and student acceptance. The findings of this study were: 1) the superintendents agreed that the four-day week would significantly reduce transportation costs (81.7 percent), utility costs (63.9 percent), as well as heating fuel costs (61.3 percent); 2) the superintendents did not agree that the four-day week would reduce student achievement levels of student performance (66.9 percent); 3) the superintendents did not agree that the four-day school week would be favored by parents (79.1 percent), but they agreed teachers (88.7 percent) and students (85.1 percent) would favor the new schedule; 4) they did not agree that the four-day school week would significantly reduce teacher (61.6 percent) or student absenteeism (65.6 percent); and 5) they strongly disagreed (73 percent) that the four-day week would provide greater instructional efficiency. The major conclusions of this study were that 123 superintendents of Iowa's small school districts believed a four-day school week may well save money for basic operational expenses, but they did not believe it would be acceptable to the parents in their districts, nor would it improve instructional efficiency. The superintendents believed a four-day school week would be acceptable to the teachers and the students in their districts, but they did not believe it would significantly reduce teacher or student absenteeism. The superintendents did not believe the four-day school week would reduce student achievement levels.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Norman McCumsey

Second Advisor

Robert H. Decker

Third Advisor

Marlene I. Strathe


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