Research on Snow Days from HKS

Joshua Goodman from the Harvard Kennedy School release a paper analyzing what happens when Massachusetts schools do – or do not- close for snow.

He finds:

These findings, that weather-related school closings have little impact on student achievement, appear to conflict with those of a number of previous studies, which may have painted an incomplete picture of the relationship between bad weather, lost instructional time, and achievement. Finding a correlation between bad weather and declines in student achievement, prior researchers assumed that the effect runs through school closings. This analysis distinguishes between the effects of school closings and of individual student absences and finds the latter to be the culprit in lowering student test scores…

A more likely explanation is that schools and teachers are well prepared to deal with the coordinated disruptions caused by snow days—much more so than they are to handle the less dramatic but more frequent disruptions caused by poor student attendance.

Read more, download a copy and listen to a podcast discussing his findings here: