Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Mel Finkenberg

Abstract

A recent trend in schools has been to reduce or eliminate recess. The assumption behind this elimination is that less recess time provides more opportunities for learning and hence, better learning outcomes. However, little research has examined the effects of this assumption, and little is known about the relationship between recess and learning. The purpose of this mixed method quasi-experimental study was to test the massed versus distributed practice theory and the cognitive immaturity theory, and to gain a better understanding of recess and its implications for learning. The quantitative question was designed to determine whether segmenting instructional time with a recess break had an influence on second grade students' oral reading fluency (ORF). Based on an independent-measures t test and a chi-square test of significance, no significant difference was found in ORF gain scores between the second graders who did and did not have a morning recess break, suggesting that segmenting instructional time did not have a significant impact on the student ORF. The qualitative question was designed to examine the connection between recess and learning. After data were coded and an interpretive analysis was conducted, a positive connection was found indicating that recess enhances learning. It was also noted that factors other than the timing of recess may influence children's learning. Results provide support for the inclusion of recess for every child for the development of their psychomotor, affective and cognitive needs. Results also indicate that the long-term effects of providing recess may outweigh the short-term effects of reducing or eliminating recess.