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Year-Round Schools in L.A.

January 22, 1986

The Los Angeles Unified School District has proposed changing from a nine-month calendar (derived from agricultural needs no longer with us) to a year-round schedule (three months on, one month off), in order to accommodate 80,000 new students over the next five years.

Your readers may wish to note one likely benefit of a year-round calendar is improved retention of class material. Research in experimental and cognitive psychology indicates that "spaced trials are more effective than massed trials"--e.g., children learn more studying three times for one hour each, than one time for three hours. Perhaps these results are applicable to the school calendar as well.

As Mark Twain noted, "Intellectual food is like any other. It is pleasanter and more beneficial to take it with a spoon than with a shovel."

DAVID A. DONOVAN

Los Angeles

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