Review Article

Class schedules from international practices to the Bhutanese context: A review of literature

Karma Dorji 1 * , Phuntsho Norbu 1, Ugyen Lhendup 1, Bhoj Raj Rai 1
More Detail
1 Department of Curriculum and Professional Development, Ministry of Education, Thimphu, BHUTAN* Corresponding Author
Mediterranean Journal of Social & Behavioral Research, 7(2), June 2023, 51-57,
Published Online: 06 January 2023, Published: 01 May 2023
OPEN ACCESS   74 Views   60 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


The class schedule is one of the most important determinants of students’ academic achievement. In the face of a rising tide of competency-based curricula, there are calls that urge schools to reschedule class structure from a traditional mode to systems that can lend larger blocks of time. As Bhutan recently implemented competency-based curricula, it appeared quite reasonable that there should be a system that allows larger blocks of time in each class. This narrative overview was, thus, carried out to examine the trends of class schedules world-wide and provide insights, if any, to contextualize into Bhutanese setting. The study searched literature from Scopus, ERIC, and Google Scholar supplemented by random search from search engines and citations of the articles retrieved. 81 articles met the criteria for review and analysis after screening out using a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. The practices, including traditional schedule, 4×4 block schedule, A/B block schedule, hybrid block schedule, trimester plan, Copernican schedule, interdisciplinary block schedule, and one-subject-a-day schedule appeared in most of the articles reviewed. It emerged that 4×4 and A/B block schedules are far more popular than other class schedules practiced effectively with supporting empirical evidence. Findings from this review have implications to the way the class schedules are organized in Bhutanese educational settings. The implications that need urgent attention by relevant agencies are discussed.


Dorji, K., Norbu, P., Lhendup, U., & Rai, B. R. (2023). Class schedules from international practices to the Bhutanese context: A review of literature. Mediterranean Journal of Social & Behavioral Research, 7(2), 51-57.


  1. Bottge, B. J., Gugerty, J. J., Sherlin, R., & M. K. (2003). Block and traditional schedules: Effects on students with and without disability in high school. NASSP Bullitin, 87(636), 2-14.
  2. Brannon, M. D. (2020). Causal comparative study: The effect of school scheduling and academic outcomes of economically disadvantaged students [Doctoral dissertation, Stephen F. Austin State University].
  3. Brown, D. (2001). Middle level teachers’ perceptions of the impact of block scheduling on instruction and learning. Research in Middle Level Education Annual, 24(1), 1-13.
  4. Bryant, C., & Bryant, R. (2000). Social studies in the block schedule: A model for effective lesson design. The Social Studies, 91(1), 9-16.
  5. Childers, E. A. (2018). Effects of class scheduling and student achievement on state testing [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University].
  6. Clark, S. G. (2021). The Impact of block scheduling on student achievement, Graduation rate, and attendance at the high school level [Doctoral dissertation, Louisiana University].
  7. Cotti, C., Gordanier, J., & Ozturk, O. (2018). Class meeting frequency, start times, and academic performance. Economics of Education Review, 62, 12-15.
  8. Daniel, L. G. (2007). Research summary: Flexible scheduling. NMSA.
  9. Dickson, K., Bird, K., Newman, M., & Kalra, N. (2010). What is the effect of block scheduling on academic achievement? A systematic review. University of London.
  10. Ellerbrock, C., Main, K., Falbe, K., & Pomykal Franz, D. (2018). An examination of middle school organisational structures in the United States and Australia. Education Sciences, 8, 168.
  11. Evans, W., Tokarczyk, J., Rice, S., & McCray, A. (2002). Block scheduling: An evaluation of outcomes and impact. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 75(6), 319-323.
  12. Ferrari, R. (2015). Writing narrative style literature reviews. Medical Writing, 24(4), 230-235.
  13. Flynn, L., Lawrenz, F., & Schultz, M. J. (2005). Block scheduling and mathematics: Enhancing mathematics standards-based instruction? NASSP Bullitin, 89(642), 14-23.
  14. Gargis, M. (2013). An investigation into the change from block to traditional scheduling in selected Alabama high schools [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Alabama].
  15. Gullatt, D. E. (2006). Block scheduling: The effects on curriculum and student productivity. NASSP Bulletin, 90(3), 250-266.
  16. Hackma, D. G. (2002). Block scheduling for the middle level: A cautionary tale about the best features of secondary school models. Middle School Journal, 33(4), 22-28.
  17. Hackmann, D. G. (2004). Constructivism and block scheduling: Making the connection. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(9), 697-702.
  18. Huebner, C. (2022). Benefits and barriers of block scheduling [Master’s thesis, Dordt University].
  19. Labak, I., Sertic Peric, M., & Radanovic, I. (2020). Effects of block vs. traditional scheduling on high school science success—Lessons from biology classes. Education Sciences, 10(8), 209.
  20. Labak, I., Sertić Perić, M., & Radanović, I. (2021). The effect of block class scheduling on the achievements of primary school students in nature and biology classes. Education Sciences, 11(9), 550.
  21. Landry, T. K. (2016). Block scheduling for 21st century school: A change leadership plan [Doctoral dissertation, National Louis University].
  22. Levy, J. J. (2020). Traditional and block scheduling: A comparative study of student achievement of English II end-of-course exam score and high school English teachers’ perspectives of scheduling models [Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi College].
  23. Lewis, C. W., Dugan, J. J., Winokur, M. A., & Cobb, B. R. (2005). The effects of block scheduling on high school academic achievement. NASSP Bulletin, 89(645), 72-87.
  24. Marchant, G. J., & Paulson, S. B. (2001). Differential school functioning in a block schedule: A comparison of academic profiles. The High School Journal, 84(4), 12-20.
  25. Mizhquiri, L. (2019). White paper: The effects of block scheduling and traditional scheduling on high school student achievement. Dartmouth College.
  26. Nichols, J. D. (2000). Scheduling reform: A longitudinal exploration of high school block scheduling structures. International Journal of Educational Reform, 9(2), 134-147.
  27. Nichols, J. D. (2005). Block-scheduled high schools: Impact on achievement in English and language arts. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(5), 299-309.
  28. Nogler, T. A. (2017). A quantitative causal-comparative study examining the effect of block and traditional bell schedules on cognitive load and mathematics academic performance in high school freshmen of the Southwestern USA [PhD dissertation, Grand Canyon University].
  29. Norton, M. K. (2010). A study of the impact of block scheduling on student academic achievement in public high schools [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University].
  30. O’Meara, N., & Prendergast, M. (2018). Time allocated to mathematics in post-primary schools in Ireland: Are we in double trouble? International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 49(4), 501-516.
  31. Olsen, K. (2020. Effects of block scheduling vs traditional period scheduling on the academic achievement of middle school students [Master’s thesis, California State University].
  32. Pedersen, J. L. (2001). The effects of scheduling modes on high school student achievement in Iowa [Doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University].
  33. Pettus, A., & Blosser, M. (2014). Teaching science in the block. Routledge.
  34. Pope, N. G. (2016). How the time of day affects productivity: Evidence from school schedules. Review of Economics and Statistics, 98(1), 1-11.
  35. Queen, J. A. (2000). Block scheduling revisited. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(3), 214-222.
  36. Queen, J. A. (2009). The block scheduling handbook. Corwin.
  37. Randler, C., Kranich, K., & Eisele, M. (2008). Block scheduled versus traditional biology teaching—An educational experiment using the water lily. Instructional Science, 36(1), 17-25.
  38. Reinke, N. B. (2018). The impact of timetable changes on student achievement and learning experiences. Nurse Education Today, 62, 137-142.
  39. Rettig, M. D., & Canady, R. L. (2001). Block scheduling: More benefits than challenges. Response to Thomas (2001). NASSP Bulletin, 85(628), 78-86.
  40. Rice, J. K., Croninger, R. G., & Roellke, C. F. (2002). The effect of block scheduling high school mathematics courses on student achievement and teachers’ use of time: Implications for educational productivity. Economics of Education Review, 21(6), 599-607.
  41. Roberts, K. C. J. (2016). Relationship of block scheduling to student achievement and learning activities [Doctoral dissertation, University of New England].
  42. Royal Education Council. (2019). The instructional time of 2019. The Royal Education Council.
  43. Ryan, K., & Cooper, J. M. (2004). Those who can teach. Houghton Mifflin.
  44. Sjosten-Bell, W. (2005). Influence of time-of-day on student performance on mathematical algorithms [Master’s thesis, Dominican University of California].
  45. Smith, L. O. (2010). A longitudinal study of block scheduling versus traditional scheduling in Mississippi schools: Utilizing the Mississippi student assessment system and administrators’ perceptions [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Southern Mississippi].
  46. Smith, W. S. J. (2011). Student achievement in block and non-block schedule schools [Doctoral dissertation, University of Southern Mississippi].
  47. Spence, M. J. (2020). Block versus traditional scheduling in high school: Teacher and student attitudes [Doctoral dissertation, Linden University].
  48. Thomas, C. (2001). What is wrong with block scheduling? NASSP Bulletin, 85(628), 74-77.
  49. VanWeelden, H. (2015). School schedules and their impact on teacher job satisfaction [Master’s thesis, Dordt University].
  50. Williams, C. Jr. (2011). The impact of block scheduling on student achievement, attendance, and discipline at the high school level [Doctoral dissertation, Argosy University].
  51. Williams, K. M., & Shapiro, T. M. (2018). Academic achievement across the day: Evidence from randomized class schedules. Economics of Education Review, 67, 158-170.
  52. Yesil Dagli, U. (2019). Effect of increased instructional time on student achievement. Educational Review, 71(4), 501-517.
  53. Zepeda, S. J., & Mayers, R. S. (2006). An analysis of research on block scheduling. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 137-170.