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Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance

  • Marcotte, Dave E.

    ()

    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Hemelt, Steven W.

    ()

    (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 3rd, 5th and 8th 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, and 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 (5), the number of 3rd 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 5th and 8th grade. Combining our estimates with actual patterns of unscheduled closings in the last 3 years, we find that more than half of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in 3rd grade math or reading, required under No Child Left Behind, would have met AYP if schools had been open on all scheduled days.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2923.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2923.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Education Finance and Policy, 2008, 3 (3), 316-338
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2923
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  1. 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.
  2. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," NBER Working Papers 5708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hanushek, Eric A., 2002. "Publicly provided education," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 30, pages 2045-2141 Elsevier.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
  8. 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.
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