CAMBRIDGE, MA (CBS) – New research out of Harvard reveals not calling schools off for a snow day might be more detrimental to students than canceling school for the weather.

The study, done by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor Joshua Goodman, looked at data from the Massachusetts Department of Education for students in grades three to 10 from 2003 to 2010.

According to Goodman’s data, not canceling school in bad weather might impact student achievement negatively, since many students will not show up regardless.

In the case of a snow day, schools usually plan ahead and tack on extra days at the end of the school year to make up for the closure. But when school is not called off due to snow and a large number of students don’t show up anyway, those absences are not made up for in the form of additional days of learning.

“[School administrators] need to consider the downside when deciding not to declare a snow day during a storm — the fact that many kids will miss school regardless, either because of transportation issues or parental discretion,” Goodman tells the Harvard Gazette. “And because those absences typically aren’t made up in the school calendar, those kids can fall behind.”

Goodman, a former school teacher, says that school days can actually end up being less detrimental than other closures.

“These results are consistent with a model in which the central challenge of teaching is the coordination of students,” Goodman writes.

To view the study, click below.
snowdays study