IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/20221.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Flaking Out: Student Absences and Snow Days as Disruptions of Instructional Time

Author

Listed:
  • Joshua Goodman

Abstract

Despite the fact that the average American student is absent more than two weeks out of every school year, most research on the effect of instructional time has focused not on attendance but on the length of the school day or year. Student and school fixed effects models using Massachusetts data show a strong relationship between student absences and achievement but no impact of lost instructional time due to school closures. I confirm those findings in instrumental variables models exploiting the fact that moderate snowfall induces student absences while extreme snowfall induces school closures. Prior work ignoring this non-linearity may have mis-attributed the effect of absences to such snow days. Each absence induced by bad weather reduces math achievement by 0.05 standard deviations, suggesting that attendance can account for up to one-fourth of the achievement gap by income. That absences matter but closures do not is consistent with a model of instruction in which coordination of students is the central challenge, as in Lazear (2001). Teachers appear to deal well with coordinated disruptions of instructional time like snow days but deal poorly with disruptions like absences that affect different students at different times.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Goodman, 2014. "Flaking Out: Student Absences and Snow Days as Disruptions of Instructional Time," NBER Working Papers 20221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20221
    Note: ED
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20221.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2013. "Explaining Charter School Effectiveness," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 1-27, October.
    2. Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-35, April.
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:588:p:f425-f448 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:588:p:f397-f424 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
    6. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
    7. Magnus Carlsson & Gordon B. Dahl & Björn Öckert & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2015. "The Effect of Schooling on Cognitive Skills," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 533-547, July.
    8. Dave E. Marcotte & Steven W. Hemelt, 2008. "Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 3(3), pages 316-338, July.
    9. Steven G. Rivkin & Jeffrey C. Schiman, 2015. "Instruction Time, Classroom Quality, and Academic Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 425-448, November.
    10. Victor Lavy, 2015. "Do Differences in Schools' Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 397-424, November.
    11. Janet Currie & Eric A. Hanushek & E. Megan Kahn & Matthew Neidell & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "Does Pollution Increase School Absences?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 682-694, November.
    12. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    13. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2009. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the United States?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 115-149, April.
    14. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
    15. Victor Lavy, 2010. "Do Differences in School's Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps in Maths, Science and Language? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries," CEE Discussion Papers 0118, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    16. Caroline M. Hoxby & Sonali Murarka, 2009. "Charter Schools in New York City: Who Enrolls and How They Affect Their Students' Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:15-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10995, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Barrios Fernandez, Andrés & Bovini, Giulia, 2017. "It’s time to learn: understanding the differences in returns to instruction time," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86618, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Aucejo, Esteban M. & Romano, Teresa Foy, 2016. "Assessing the effect of school days and absences on test score performance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Seth Gershenson & Alison Jacknowitz & Andrew Brannegan, 2017. "Are Student Absences Worth the Worry in U.S. Primary Schools?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 137-165, Spring.
    6. Magdalena Bennett & Peter Leopold S. Bergman, 2018. "Better Together? Social Networks in Truancy and the Targeting of Treatment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6848, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    8. Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "Should Value-Added Models Control for Student Absences?," IZA Discussion Papers 9978, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Cattan, Sarah & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2015. "The Effects of Sickness Absence in School on Educational Achievements, Mortality and Income," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113180, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Shaun M. Dougherty, 2015. "Bridging the Discontinuity in Adolescent Literacy? Mixed Evidence from a Middle Grades Intervention," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 157-192, March.
    11. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-34.
    12. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:13:y:2018:i:4:p:513-544 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Seth Gershenson & Erdal Tekin, 2018. "The Effect of Community Traumatic Events on Student Achievement: Evidence from the Beltway Sniper Attacks," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 13(4), pages 513-544, Fall.
    14. Joshua S. Goodman & Michael Hurwitz & Jisung Park & Jonathan Smith, 2018. "Heat and Learning," CESifo Working Paper Series 7291, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Valeria Groppo & Kati Kraehnert, 2017. "The impact of extreme weather events on education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 433-472, April.
    16. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2016. "Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10339, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. repec:eee:cysrev:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:262-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Hayes, Michael S. & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "What differences a day can make: Quantile regression estimates of the distribution of daily learning gains," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 48-51.
    19. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:295-306 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Thompson, Paul N., 2019. "Effects of Four-Day School Weeks on Student Achievement: Evidence from Oregon," IZA Discussion Papers 12204, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Gershenson, Seth & McBean, Jessica Rae & Tran, Long, 2018. "Quantile Regression Estimates of the Effect of Student Absences on Academic Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 11912, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. repec:eee:epplan:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:7-19 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20221. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.