Year-round Education

Economics professor Katy Rouse studies the pros and cons of year-round school calendars.

It costs a lot to invest in education. Since there are vast disparities in the way children learn and achieve, it’s crucial that policymakers understand key factors that lead to academic success so that limited school funding can be used efficiently.

In several studies in the past six years, Katy Rouse, associate professor of economics, has used economic techniques to determine the impact that multi-track, year-round school has on various factors that are important to a community, including academic success. The purpose of the research was to provide policymakers credible evidence so they could make more informed decisions about where to allocate limited resources.

School systems that use a multi-track, year-round calendar organize students into tracks and each track follows a different schedule. For example, in a four-track system, at any one time three tracks of students will be attending school while the fourth track is on vacation. When one track returns, another track leaves. This system doesn’t increase the number of days students attend school, it redistributes the number of students in a school at any one time, which can help alleviate overcrowding.

Rouse examined the impact the school calendar has on severely crowded schools, property values, teachers, the performance of all students, the performance of students from different minorities as well as low-performing students. In her research, for example, she compared the same student in the same school using different calendars to determine whether there was a difference in achievement.

I think any time you can bring credible evidence to a policy argument that’s exciting, and it means that your research has an impact that extends beyond academia.

Her findings indicate that multi-track, year-round schools might help low-performing students and students in schools that would otherwise be severely crowded without the adjusted calendar. That calendar arrangement also affects the quality of teachers who are recruited and retained. On average, teacher credentials are lower in year-round schools in California where the calendar was implemented in lower-performing schools. The same result was not found in Wake County, North Carolina where the calendar was implemented in more affluent, higher- performing schools.

Rouse has published five peer-reviewed articles on year-round education and is working on a sixth that is in the review process.

Joined Elon’s Faculty:

  • 2009


  • Ph.D. in Economics from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.A. in Economics from Miami University

Recently Published Work:

  • Depro, B. & Rouse, K. (2015). “The Effect of Multi-Track Year-Round Academic Calendars on Property Values: Evidence from district imposed school calendar conversions.” Economics of Education Review, 49, 157-171.
  • McMullen, S., Rouse, K. and Haan, J. (2015). “The Distributional Effects of the Multi-Track Year-Round Calendar: A Quantile Regression Approach.” Applied Economics Letters, 22(15), 1188-1192.
  • Graves, J., McMullen, S. & Rouse, K. (2013). “Year Round Schooling as Cost Savings Reform: Not just a matter of time.” Education Finance and Policy, 8(3), 300-315.