Ohio weather bad for class attendance and grades

Kristine Philips

Despite snow, students still want to learn

David Ranucci | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Pajamas turned inside out. The snow dance. Putting a spoon under the pillow at night.

All of these rituals are designed to make schools close and students stay home from classes. But when school isn’t closed and students still stay home from class those rituals can not only be pointless, but students can also lose valuable opportunities.

Kent State professors note not only is there generally a correlation between bad weather and low attendance, but also between low attendance and poor grades for students.

“There is a big correlation,” said Tom Emmons, professor emeritus of physics. “I do not take attendance every day, but it is taken several times during the semester. At the end of the semester the attendance record of the student is compared with their grade, and there is a big match. The student who has regular attendance definitely will have the higher grade.”

He does note, however, that there are usually higher grades in the spring semester rather than the fall semester. He doesn’t believe this is from any difference in bad weather conditions from one semester to the next, but from more experience with studying and developing good habits.

Frank Ryan, associate professor and coordinator of graduate studies of philosophy, noted that on bad weather days he receives any number of excuses from students who cannot attend class. These students usually have long commutes or live in the snow belt.

Because he takes attendance every day, Ryan notices that the impact of weather is only minor on overall attendance.

Ruth Leslie, assistant professor of chemistry, agreed there are fewer students who come to class in bad weather or extreme cold. However, she notes that normally only half the students attend class Fridays, regardless of the weather conditions.

“Certainly grades are routinely higher for students who attend regularly,” said Leslie.

The cold weather though isn’t the only weather that seems to have an effect on students though, geography instructor Aaron Burkle said. He said that rainy or poor weather in general hurts attendance rates. In the fall, Burkle taught a class that had an average 40 percent attendance rate in bad weather or was on Fridays.

As northeast Ohio is no stranger to bad weather year round, Burkle notes there is no real difference in attendance rates from the fall to spring semesters or for grades for that matter. However, the one general trend is “go to class, or your grades will suffer.”

He said that those students who do skip classes during bad weather are also more likely to skip under normal circumstances.

“The students who come to class regularly are less likely to skip even when the weather is bad,” said Burkle.

Barbara Hugenberg, assistant professor of communication studies, agreed with Burkle. She notes some students are extremely dedicated to their classes and attendance.

“Sometimes it seems that students will risk driving roads from a distance to campus that I wouldn’t even risk,” said Hugenberg. “I’m impressed by their dedication, actually.”

Contact general assignment reporter Kristine Philips at [email protected].