Students who miss 10% of school, or about 18 days throughout the year, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. Whether the absence is excused or unexcused, absence has an impact on student performance in school. Snow days are not necessarily affecting how students perform; there are students who do not show up even when there is little to no snow on the ground when school is open. These absences can make a difference to students because they perform poorly on tests and quizzes since they were not here during the days they missed. This also affects teachers because they have to decide whether to move on with their lesson or to stay on the same topic because half of the class did not come to school. Kids who do not attend class not only have an effect on themselves, but they can also affect the whole class when they have to wait until students come back to move onto the next unit.
In Maryland, the law states that schools must have 180 days in the school year between the day after Labor Day and June 15. Since schools have missed so many days due to snow this year, Spring Break has been cut in half. To make up those days, a school day has been added on April 4, 5, 6, and a half day on May 18. Since Spring Break was cut in half, not many students are going to show up to school on the makeup days when they are supposed to be on Spring Break. These days are going to have an impact on students because preparation for tests like PARCC, HSA, and AP exams are coming up. The more days students miss, the less time they have to prepare. When deciding on declaring a snow day, the powers that be have to consider the fact that some kids are going to miss some school on snow days because of transportation or parental discretion. Absences are having a strong impact on how well students do on academic assessments.
Even though the superintendent decided to add days to the end of the school year to make up for the lost snow days, it does not help students who needed the extra school days when they are required to take the standardized tests between April and May. Often, students will make-up the work they missed, but they lost their opportunity to actually engage and interact with the lesson and participate in the the conversations.