When Something Does Not Work
Of course, it is still possible to see scenarios where what is expected from published studies do not materialize. Education is multivariate. There are multiple factors and in some cases, there is a factor that simply overwhelms the rest. A recent paper, "Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for PoorSchool Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky", published in the Journal of Educational Psychology illustrates this concretely. This study looks specifically at the effects of later school start times on student performance. As in other studies, a correlation between later times and student performance is seen. Students perform better across all subjects when school starts about an hour later. Apparently, this also applies to elementary school children and not just adolescents. This, however, is not the surprising finding. What is remarkable is that delayed school start times improve student performance only in schools where the majority of students does not come from poor families. A later start for school does not have any effect on poor students. This is summarized in the following figure:
|Graph above drawn based on data from "Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for PoorSchool Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky"|
The lesson here is that sometimes something expected to work does not work and the reason is that there is a different factor that is overarching. In this case, it is poverty.