Student Interviews On Four Period Day

Seward High School
Seward, Nebraska
December, 1995

  Block Start

Purpose: To randomly choose a group of students to be interviewed and ask their views of the present four period day used at Seward High School. A composite summery of the interviews will be compiled and presented to the administration and the Block Schedule Evaluation Committee.

Procedure: Every 50th student was marked on an alphabetical list of all students. These students will be asked to participate in the interviews according to the following guidelines:

-A member or officer of the student council will be chosen by the administration to meet with the interviewer. The interviewer will explain the purpose of the interview and ask the student council member to contact the randomly selected students inviting them to participate. If the student selected agrees, an appointment time will set up in December for a 15 minute interview at the High School. If the student does not agree, the 49th student will be asked. A student council member will be responsible for getting the students to the interview.

-The interview will be held at Seward High in a room which is private and considered a student area. Possible rooms include the library, nurses suite, auditorium ect.

-The interview will be held December 18th and 19th.

-The time for the interviews are in the mornings for half hour blocks. The time that least intrudes upon the schedule of the students and the interviewer is preferred.

-Students will be asked to respond to the following primary inquiries:

1. Please describe the classes you have this semester.
2. How does the school's 4-period schedule fit your learning needs?
3. What do you like about the present schedule?
4. If you could, how would you change the schedule?


Number of Students = 11

Grade distribution

12th Grade - 3

11th Grade - 5

10th Grade - 2

9th Grade - 1


Male = 6

Female = 5


Student Reflections On Four Period Day

Seward High School

December 18-19, 1995

Dr. Allan Schmidt

1. Please describe the classes you have this semester.

a. The eleven students described 33 different courses they are presently taking.
b. The students were overwhelmingly positive to y follow-up question: How does the 90 minute period help or hinder your learning in each course? Some representative quotes are the following.

"I have time to do my work"
"Many activities keep it (the class) interesting"
"a variety of topics allows us to talk and discuss"
"I get something done, and don't spend [most of my] time cleaning up"
"I like it when the teacher explains, we work, explains again and then answers questions"
"plenty of time to complete labs and experiments"
"I have more time to ask questions of the teacher and other students in my group"
"I learn double and get more done"

A few less positive statements were made about certain courses

"gets long"
"not enough activities, the teacher teaches the whole period"
"too many students; limited space and equipment leaves a lot of free time"
"boring studying grammar and reading literature"

2. How does the school's 4-period day fit your learning needs?

Comments from students representing their answers to this question:

"I like having less homework, get more done in a day, perfect for real classes [when core classes come all at once in one quarter], time for homework."
"this is a better schedule now but not as many options and don't have as much social time; about the same amount of homework; grades went down moving from a 45-90 minute period because I get bored and staying focused is hard."
"I like having time to lift [in strength training] and work on the computer. Teachers have more time to explain material and work with individual students. I can concentrate on for classes , get better grades, and have less homework. Teachers can finish a topic and have time to review material each day from the day before"
"it depends on the teaching style of the teacher, but most teachers who like it finish a thought in a period and help students concentrate more; I wouldn't go back to the old schedule; sometimes a gap from one semester to the next may cause me to forget"
"teachers keep it interesting, balance learning with activities and move you around in small groups; counselors help to balance within and between semesters [core subjects]"
"time for one on one and asking questions with teachers and help from student in groups; poor students can get help when they need it"
"not as much homework as the middle school and more time for individuals and help from the teacher is good; paying attention sometimes is hard"
"likes it a lot better because if you stop and pick it up the next day I forget [like the old schedule] but if I finish [a topic] I remember more; teachers review more and refresh my memory; grades are about the same but I do better in math"
"I like it because I learn more in small groups; other kids can help you and get you going"
"I can ask questions and have more time to think about what we are learning; I get better grades; cheer leading does not interfere with school"

Students expressed thoughts that indicated they learned more with the 4-period schedule. The students felt they could concentrate on fewer subjects, have more time per lesson per day, and have more opportunity to ask questions of the teacher and other students. They liked being able to finish a topic in one day and also review material from the previous day. They like the teacher to explain and demonstrate then let them do their homework in class with time to ask for help when they don't understand. The students interviewed believe they learn more in the 90 minute periods than in the shorter periods"

3. What do you like about the four period day?

These are representative statements from each of the students about what they like about the 4-period day:

"the schedule fits most of the classes"
"likes small group work and listens more to friends because they can explain better than the teacher sometimes; students 'who know' [not always the same students] share with the rest and then bring the rest back into the conversation"
"I get better grades and learn more; as a cheerleader I like not having so much homework"
"teachers generally answer questions; the four year schedule does have conflicts so that I can't get all the classes but seniors have more choices"
"[the schedule] allows some students to catch up if they fail a course; not often do activities interfere with classes"
"I learn more and get better grades; can take two math classes in a year; my grades are better; we get more attention from the teachers; most teachers like it and my friends like it"
"I don't forget homework assignments now"
"depends on the teacher, but most of my friends like the schedule; some teachers don't like it"
"I get one more course for college and permits students to take two years of math in one year; only when I am in track do I miss classes"
"I learn more working in small groups and being active and talking with other kids but that works only when the teachers allow that; only four subjects and less homework; easier to catch up four subjects than 8 when I miss class because of wrestling"
"I like small groups where one person helps others learn about certain topics; my parents like it because I get better grades"

4. If you could, how would you change the schedule?

Students thoughts about what they would change:

"core courses should be mixed with less difficult courses; students just accept it [the schedule] now"
"stop lecturing for 90 minutes"
"access period is not much value for my brother and sister; too much sitting and talking"
"access period; if a student is mature and [the teacher] requires students to work its okay; few students use it to do work"
"access time is hard on organizations; busses run right after afterward and it is hard to meet and have enough time to do what needs to be done; permit organizations to meet more days per week; teachers determine how students use access period and if they allow disruptions"
"kids are positive over all; the access time has been used as punishment for some juniors and seniors; even though it is not required for 11th and 12th grades the talk is negative about access time"
"more AP courses"
"lunch is way to early"(11:20 AM)
"some teachers don't adjust and lecture the whole period"
"access period was okay if I need help especially in math and computers"
"avoid gaps between math courses; takes time to get skills back"

5. Do you have any suggestions, requests for help to offer?

Additional thoughts expressed about anything on their mind:

"change to an open campus"
"make access period a must work time, teachers [should] require work to be brought to class"
"reduce the 7-10 minute waiting for food that shortens eating time"
"balance hard and easy classes"
"I like it just the way it is"

Summary of student interviews:


1. The eleven students interviewed are more than satisfied with the 4-period day schedule. The 90 minute period is complementary to almost all classes and is excellent when the teacher's teaching style matches the student's learning style. Students prefer the following sequence:

Practice (Checking for understanding)
Re-teaching and question time

2. Students like concentrating on only four subjects at a time. The students expressed that they are now less confused, learn more, and get better grades.

3. All students like being able to get more homework done in school. They connected doing homework in class and asking questions of teachers or other students with there learning more and getting better grades.

4. Working in small groups is a preferred way to learn. Students like discussing and debating various points of view. Students say they learn from each other. Student learn more in depth when they listen to other students explain and when they explain to other students.

5. According to the majority of students, the access period does not serve them well. This included juniors and seniors who do not have access time. They did admit, however, the use of the access period depended on the maturity of the students. They also believe teachers can help students use of the access period more profitably by requiring work to be brought to the class.

6. The interview process revealed that these randomly selected students believe that they learn more in 90 minute periods than in shorter periods. The students also believe that the 4-period day helps their understanding of the subjects and improves their grades. The 4-period day reduces the amount of homework. The students interviewed are satisfied with the change to the 4-period day.


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