Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

John Matt

Commitee Members

Robert D. Evans, William P. McCaw, Frances O'Reilly, Jerry Evans


University of Montana


The purpose of this non-experimental, quantitative, causal comparative study was to examine the relationship between student achievement scores on the Montana statewide standardized assessment (MontCAS) from schools that use a four day school week in Montana to student achievement scores on the MontCAS from schools across the state of Montana that follow a traditional five day school week. The MontCAS is the standardized assessment in reading, mathematics, and science adopted by the Montana Office of Public Instruction as a result of mandates from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

In the spring of 2005, the Montana Legislature approved changes to the accreditation standards in Montana by allowing a school to be accredited based upon a total number of contact hours instead of the previous requirement of a minimum number of contact hours and a minimum number of days of instruction. Ten schools made the conversion to a four day week beginning in the 2006-2007 school year. By 2008-2009 there were 22 schools following a four day week calendar and over the next several years, this number doubled every two years. By the 2012- 2013 school year, there were over 100 schools in Montana with a four day week.

Data was provided by the Montana Office of Public Instruction on every student from every school in Montana that utilized the four day school week from implementation through the 2012- 2013 school year. This data was analyzed by cohort based upon the year of implementation of the four day week in addition to being considered in the composite as the number of students tested in schools with the four day week grew from just over 200 in the spring of 2007 to 2685 in the spring of 2013.

The total percentage of students identified as proficient and advanced was compared to statewide averages disaggregated by cohort and in composite over the academic years of 2006-2007 through 2012-2013.

Findings indicate that student achievement may increase the first year of implementation of the four day week, but over time, student achievement decreases, compared to the rest of the students in the state of Montana.



© Copyright 2014 Timothy W. Tharp