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Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance

  • Dave E. Marcotte

    ()

    (Department of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Steven W. Hemelt

    ()

    (Department of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Do students perform better on statewide assessments in years in which they have more school days to prepare? We explore this question using data on math and reading assessments taken by students in the third, fifth, and eighth grades since 1994 in Maryland. Our identification strategy is rooted in the fact that tests are administered on the same day(s) statewide in late winter or early spring, so any unscheduled closings due to snow reduce instruction time and are not made up until after the exams are over. We estimate that in academic years with an average number of unscheduled closures (five), the number of third graders performing satisfactorily on state reading and math assessments within a school is nearly 3 percent lower than in years with no school closings. The impacts of closure are smaller for students in fifth and eighth grades. Combining our estimates with actual patterns of unscheduled closings in the last three years, we find that more than half of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in third-grade math or reading, required under No Child Left Behind, would have met AYP if schools had been open on all scheduled days. © 2008 American Education Finance Association

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp.2008.3.3.316
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Education Finance and Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 316-338

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:3:y:2008:i:3:p:316-338
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  1. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Years," CEPR Discussion Papers 4074, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eren, Ozkan & Millimet, Daniel, 2005. "Time to Learn? The Organizational Structure of Schools and Student Achievement," Departmental Working Papers 0506, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  4. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
  5. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  6. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-53, April.
  8. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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