Capstone/Dissertation Title

After Eight: The Effect of Later School Start Times on Adolescent Learning

Term

Fall 9-3-2014

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Anthony Berman

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Joel Gullickson

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Susan Sindt

Abstract

The research question addressed in this capstone is, what effect can later school start times have on the sleep patterns of adolescents and their subsequent school experience? The key influences driving this question were the difficulties the author encountered as both a student and teacher of early-morning high school classes, beginning before 8:00 AM. The literature review of the capstone outlines recent research revealing the later, longer sleep pattern needed by most teens, and then discusses the challenges and benefits observed at schools and school districts which have switched to later high school start times to better match adolescent sleep patterns. The author’s own primary research on schools in Washington State, conducted through surveys, interviews, and data analysis, indicates that later start times do seem to improve students’ schooling experience, but can bring some negative consequences which stakeholders must try to ameliorate.

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