Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.
Chronic absence appears to have doubled by the end of the 2021-22 school year. We estimate that it now affects nearly one out of three students (or 16 million vs. 8 million students in the 2018-19 school year).
Absenteeism and its ill effects start early.
Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.
By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. Chronic absence is considered two days a month.
Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are four times more likely to be chronically absent than others, often for reasons beyond their control.
When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances of graduating.
Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students.
The most important thing to track is not just how many are missing school without an excuse but how many are missing so many days in excused and unexcused absences that academics are off track.