The Effect of Block Scheduling on Foreign Language Learning


  • Linda M. Wallinger

    1. Virginia Department of Education
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      Linda M. Wallinger (Ph.D., College of William and Mary) is Principal Specialist of Foreign Languages and ESL at the Virginia Department of Education, Richmond, VA.


ABSTRACT  The implementation of block scheduling in many high schools across the United States has caused concern among foreign language teachers. After examining qualitative data that were available on the topic of block scheduling and foreign language learning, the researcher conducted a study wherein she administered end-of-course tests in listening, speaking, reading, and writing to 60 classes of students in French I. These students had been instructed according to one of three schedules: the traditional 6- or 7- period day, the 4times4 block schedule, and the alternating day block schedule. The researcher found that despite students on the traditional schedule having significantly more time for instruction during the course of the year, they did not perform significantly better than the other groups on any of the skills tests. Further data analysis did show, however, that the listening and reading scores of students instructed on the 4times4 schedule fell more frequently in the bottom quartile of the score distribution.