A study hall is a period of time set aside during the school day for students to work independently or receive academic help from a teacher or adult. Historically, study halls have been used to fill gaps in student schedules, and students are assigned to a specific classroom at a designated time. Study halls are more common in schools with traditional six- or eight-period schedules, but they are less common in schools that use block scheduling—fewer and longer periods during the school day.
In recent years, many educators have questioned the utility and value of the traditional study hall—an unstructured period of time spent in a lightly supervised classroom. Given that there are only a limited number of hours in the school day, and that many students may be underperforming or not receiving the help they need to succeed academically, many schools are replacing traditional study halls with more structured academic-support periods, advisories, learning labs, and other strategies, or they are abandoning them altogether. The basic rationale is that unstructured study halls squander precious time that could be used more purposefully, either to help students who are struggling academically or to provide more useful, meaningful, and enriching learning experiences.
The Glossary of Education Reform by Great Schools Partnership is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.