Date of Award

Spring 2001

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Directors: Barbara Krysiak

Second Advisor

Casey D Cobb


The 1983 study of the condition of American Education, A Nation at Risk, brought a significant amount of attention to the way in which schools provided students with the skills necessary to be productive citizens. Many of the recommendations contained in A Nation at Risk focused on the perceived poor performance of American students when compared to their counterparts worldwide. The year after publication of A Nation at Risk, the National Commission on Time and Learning published Prisoners of Time, a report that called for the establishment of high academic standards for students and a major restructuring of the school day to provide more time for focus on providing students with additional time to focus on content area subjects. The additional time, it was proposed, would help our students to become more competitive with their peers internationally. These two powerful documents provided the fuel necessary to ignite efforts to restructure the school day, particularly in high schools. While there have been several school restructuring initiatives, block scheduling has received much attention.

Block scheduling radically alters the way in which schools organize the instructional day for students and staff. The most prominent form of block scheduling is the 4 x 4 block, which results in ninety-minute classes four times per day for each of two semesters. Thus, students take eight courses during the school year, four during each semester. Under this model, students complete a year of work in half the time. One consequence of block scheduling is that students may experience significant gaps in sequential courses, particularly in mathematics and foreign language. The extent to which this gap affects student achievement in mathematics was the focus of this study.