Are Spanish Children Taking Advantage of their Weekly Classroom Time?
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There is a common belief in Spain that a large amount of classroom time is supposed to be an indicator of better academic achievement, due to children’s prolonged exposure to the teaching-learning process. Nevertheless, international evidence does not seem to support this concept, as the amount of weekly instruction hours that children receive in Spain is well above the one provided in other countries, which clearly perform better than Spain in international assessments. Because of that, this current research proposes to analyse two issues regarding weekly instruction time: firstly, whether or not instruction time per week affects the academic achievement of Spanish children; secondly, if this potential effect differs across Spanish regions –Autonomous Communities–. In order to do that, we have made use of student fixed effects between-subjects to obtain the potential causal effect of weekly instruction time on students’ academic achievement. The main results of this analysis have indicated that, in general for Spain, weekly instruction time does not seem to affect children’s academic achievement. However, this lack of influence may reflect the compensation of different effects of instruction time per week on students’ academic achievement for some Spanish Autonomous Communities –concretely, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country–. In the view of these results, we propose some policy interventions. We also highlight the importance of studying each country’s particular case in respect to this instruction time issue, as it may present different effects in each country.
KeywordsWeekly instruction time Indicators of academic achievement Spanish regions Secondary education Student fixed effects
This work has been partly supported by the Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa de la Junta de Andalucía (PAI group SEJ-532 and Excellence research group SEJ-2727); by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Research Project ECO2014-56397-P) and the FPU scholarship of the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (FPU2014 04518). Luis Alejandro Lopez-Agudo also acknowledges the training received from the University of Malaga PhD Programme in Economy and Business [Programa de Doctorado en Economía y Empresa de la Universidad de Malaga].
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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