Record-setting snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous travel conditions have meant plenty of missed school days this year. Educators are worried that lost classroom time may affect preparation for standardized tests.
State Department of Education spokesman Tom Murphy says he’s seen school closings, late openings and early dismissals in other years, "but this is really beyond what we’ve seen ever. And it couldn’t happen at a worse time in our high schools, when we have our end of course exams"
State law requires school districts to provide 180 days of school and 900 instructional hours. Local boards of education set their own calendars, but Murphy says they can’t go beyond June 30th. "So we have some school districts that have already cancelled school six or seven times that are bumping that June 30th deadline and the 180 day minimum."
In Hamden, Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz has cancelled 8 days of school."Frankly the weather is raising havoc with school schedules, most importantly for me the continuity of teaching and learning."
She says young students are especially affected by disruptions in routine. Teachers have to go back and review what was taught before the interruption, and then move on. She’s worried that kids may not be as prepared this year for standardized tests. "For instance if in mathematics you’re covering decimals in 5th grade in the last week of February, you might not be doing that because you’ve had so many days out, and yet that is a concept that will be tested on the Connecticut Mastery Test."
She and other school leaders are calling on education officials to consider adjusting this year’s test schedule - so teachers and kids have time to catch up.