Published Online: July 8, 2014
Published in Print: July 9, 2014, as Snow Days

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Snow Days

"Flaking Out: Student Absences and Snow Days as Disruptions of Instructional Time"

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While the snowstorms and icy sidewalks of this past winter are fast disappearing from memory, a question remains: Did all those snow days hurt student learning?

Perhaps not, according to a working paper published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study, by Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, looks at how school closures due to extremely snowy weather affected standardized test scores of Massachusetts students from 2003 to 2010. He found that snow days had little impact on student achievement.

However, Mr. Goodman did find that student absences prompted by moderately snowy days negatively affected test scores, particularly in math.

The author said the findings imply that teachers are better able to manage coordinated absences, when the whole class has missed school, than when only one or a few students miss class.

Vol. 33, Issue 36, Page 5

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