What new study found about later school start times and students' grades

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 09:02:57-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — There have been many debates over whether later school start times facilitate better school performance for kids. School officials in Seattle put that to the test.

School, sports, college prep, homework. Teens fit a lot into their day and that may be cutting into their sleep. Could later school start times mean better school performance for your teen? Starting with the 2016-2017 school year, school officials in Seattle moved start times for middle and high schools from 7:50 A.M. to 8:45 A.M.

Researchers from the University of Washington studied high school students before and after the school start time change.

They found that their sleep increased by about 34 minutes with the later school start times. The researchers also found a reduction in absences and tardiness and an improvement in grades.

The author adds that a later wake up time does not necessarily mean the kids are going to bed later. So giving your teen that extra sleep time may have its positive benefits in the long run.

The American Academy of Pediatrics did call for school districts to move their start times to 8:30 A.M. in 2014. However, so far only 17 percent of public middle and high schools have a start time of 8:30 A.M. or later.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.