Spanish press has widely criticized the fact that students spend almost their whole day at school, a practice rooted in the common belief that higher instruction time enhances students’ learning. However, in spite of this high amount of instruction time that Spanish students are receiving, their results do not seem to outstand in comparison with other countries with similar or lower instruction time.
In this context, this research intends to accomplish two main objectives: the first one is to check if the amount of instruction time received by 15 year-old Spanish students actually affects their academic achievement. The second one intends to analyse if this potential influence of instruction time may be affecting Spanish Autonomous Communities in different ways, as each one is responsible for setting instruction time in its own region. In order to accomplish these objectives, the methodology employed let us isolate the effect of instruction time from other covariates by using students’ fixed effects by subject, using PISA 2009 and 2012 data. Results have shown that there is not any effect of instruction time on academic achievement, being this conclusion extended to every Autonomous Community in Spain. Further checks have corroborated the robustness of these results and have also highlighted that the effect of instruction time is a question of quality more than quantity, as students’ engagement and the classroom climate during lessons may be causing differences in academic achievement, rather than the amount of instruction time per se.