some thoughts as schools around DC are all closed tomorrow as well as today- since my last name begins with B I am among the first apparently to get the automated phone call telling us Anne Arundel County Public Schools will be closed tomorrow.
Some districts are already on their 12th day of being closed, but those are in districts with snow days built into the calendar. Loudoun County has longer school days which gives them some flexibility under Virginia law.
Anne Arundel had no snow days. We apparently will not take time away from Spring break (and in my case I have a commitment to guest lecture at a prestigious graduate school in the middle of our Spring break). So we will probably add what days the state does not forgive (which it can if the Governor declares a state of emergency) at the end of the school year.
But note the following facts.
1. Seniors do not make up the days, because graduation dates are already fixed.
2. AP exams are not moved.
3. While SOME state-written examinations can be postponed, the High School Assessments, which are a graduation requirement, will not be postponed.
Given how much emphasis we put on testing, some students will shut down. Yes, we have end of course exams in high school courses in Anne Arundel, but any student who sits for an AP exam does not have to take the school system exam in that AP course.
I suspect the fixed date of high stakes tests is pretty widespread.
Adding days interferes with summer plans.
The test results will either have to be scaled (ie,'curved') accounting for the loss of instructional time or else we will see a dip in the results in many cases.
Half my classes, and more than half my students, are in AP Government. Most will sit for the AP exam. Given that weather interruptions are pretty widespread, and given that effectively the results on AP tests are scaled with something over 50% of testees passing, I do not expect to see a significant decline in "pass" rates on AP for my students.
Still, we have exams given already BEFORE the end of the school year for which instructional time is further reduced because of weather.
And on the results of these tests we want to evaluate schools, principals, teachers, to say nothing of students.
Does anyone besides me have a problem with this?