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Missed Class Time for Sports, Is It Worth It?

Posted on Posted in Blog, Extracurricular Parenting, Parenting's Not Easy, School Me on Research

Missed Class Time for Sports, Is It Worth It?

After I pick up my two youngest from school I get the pleasure of sitting in the high school carpool line for about forty five minutes to wait for my oldest.  As I wait I spend most of my time reminding the two youngest that they cannot start an expedition in the trunk and that they must remain seated (or at the very least out of the front seat bouncing around next to me).  Twenty five minutes into my carpool line wait a trickling of high school students start a slow sprawl through the student parking lot.  Some go straight to their cars.  But most make a leisurely beeline to their cars and return a few minutes later with athletic bags.  Some students carry tennis rackets, others soccer or football gear. I assume that they are going to practice or getting ready for a game.  The teacher and mama in me can’t help but think about the lost class time. Have they made it their responsibility to ask what assignments that they need to make up?  How much time are they missing from class to get ready for practice or to get ready to leave for an away game?  The mama urge in me wants to yell out the car window and say, “You better not be behind in that class you’re missing right now!”
When I taught I had students who needed to miss my class for a chorus or band activity.  But this happened maybe two times out of the year at most. Students who played sports, and the cheerleaders that go along with them, missed portions of my class every week during their particular sports season.  
Does sports participation have adverse effects on academic achievement?  Recent research says quite the contrary when it comes to school attendance and grades.  A study on athletic participation and school attendance found:
Participation in sports decreases absences
Absenteeism declines on game days (but there are higher rates of absenteeism the day after the game)
Unexcused absences fall by an average of 11.9 % among boys in homes with only one parent
Researchers believe that the positive impact of school attendance on student athletes has to do with the implementation of certain school policies. While school policies differ around the nation, most schools stipulate that in order for a student to play on game day they must have attended a full day of classes. Athletes can also jeopardize their eligibility by irregular school attendance and by failing to maintain minimum academic standards.
The study also found that during sports season:
Grades went up for Black and Hispanic student athlete boys
Grades fell slightly for white and Asian student athlete boys and girls
Black and Hispanic student athlete girls' grades appeared unaffected
Student athlete boys from households without two parents showed the largest gains in grades
 Despite missing class time for sports, overall participation in school athletics may have a positive impact on students.  I guess that means I’ll have to suppress my mama urge to ‘yell’ at the student athletes as I sit in the car pool line. 


How is your student athlete faring this sports season?




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