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ERIC Number: EJ1063021
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
In Defense of Snow Days
Goodman, Joshua
Education Next, v15 n3 p64-69 Sum 2015
In snowy climates, school superintendents must frequently decide whether an impending storm warrants closing schools for the day. Concerns about student and teacher safety must be weighed against the loss of student learning time, along with state requirements for days of instruction and the cost and inconvenience of extending the school year into the summer. This calculus assumes, based on evidence of various kinds, that school hours lost to snow days equal lost student learning. Studies show that highly effective charter schools, for instance, tend to have longer school days and years than traditional public schools, and that increased instructional time is correlated with higher school effectiveness even within the charter sector. Other studies have shown that schools fare worse on state tests in years in which they experience more weather-related school closings, seemingly providing direct evidence that closings reduce student learning (see "Time for School," "research," Winter 2010). This study provides a fresh look at the impact of instructional time lost due to weather-related student absences, as well as to school closings. Using student-level data from Massachusetts, the author finds that each one-day increase in the student absence rate driven by bad weather reduces math achievement by up to 5 percent of a standard deviation, suggesting that differences in average student attendance may account for as much as one-quarter of the income-based achievement gap in the state. Conversely, instructional time lost to weather-related school closings has no impact on student test scores.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts