Monday’s winter storm forced school systems across the region to cancel school for yet another day, adding to what were already high snow day totals for many. With classroom instruction disrupted again, WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show decided to look into the question of “the snow day effect” and how it can impact classroom performance.
Public Policy Professor and Graduate Program Director Dave Marcotte was a guest on Monday’s show and discussed a multi-year study he conducted to look into winter weather’s impact on schools in several states. One of the key findings was that a week’s worth of snow days reduced the number of students who passed state math assessments by as much as two percent.
“Math is a skill that is most exclusively learned in school,” Marcotte said. “So kids who are staying home today are probably reading books, Harry Potter or something else, but probably none of them are doing math right now. So taking them out of the classroom is really where you can have an effect on that subject in particular.”
Marcotte also discussed how the relationship between snow days and classroom performance can be complicated because adding school days onto the end of the year to make up for lost time isn’t necessarily a solution.
“We don’t really know the extent to which that is going to help solve the problem. As teachers and parents likely know, time in June in the classroom is very different than time in February. So how to solve the problem is not obvious,” Marcotte added.
Marcotte was a guest on the program along with Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools Joshua Starr. You can listen to the full discussion on The Kojo Nnamdi Show here.