Do longer school days improve student achievement? Evidence from Colombia

Available from: 
October 2013
Paper author(s): 
Diana Hincapie (George Washington University)
Education - Health

This paper analyzes the impact of longer school days on student achievement in Colombia, where primary and secondary students attend schools that have either a complete or a half-day schedule. Using test score data from 5th and 9th graders in 2002-2003, 2005-2006, and 2009, along with school administrative data, this study identifies the effect of longer school days by implementing a school fixed effects model. The base model compares changes in average test scores for schools that switched from a complete schedule to a half schedule and vice versa. I also use the demand and supply for school spots in a municipality to instrument the probability of having a complete schedule. I find that schools with a complete schedule have about one tenth of a standard deviation higher test scores than those with half schedules. The impact is larger for math test scores than for language test scores, and it is larger for 9th grade test scores than for 5th grade test scores. These results suggest that policies that aim to increase the length of the school day could improve student achievement in developing countries.


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Research section: 
Lacea 2013 annual meeting
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