Attendance is essential to school success, but too often students, parents and schools do not realize how quickly absences — excused and unexcused — can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days every month—can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. Low-income students, who most depend on school for opportunities to learn, are especially harmed when they miss too much instruction.
Chronic absence is an alarming, largely overlooked problem that is preventing too many children from having an opportunity to learn and succeed. National data collected for the 2013-14 school year found 6.8 million students, or 14 percent of all students, were chronically absent. This is not just a problem in middle and high school: It starts in kindergarten and preschool. It is a problem in districts of every size, urban, suburban and rural. The report, Preventing Missed Opportunity, shows that nine out of 10 U.S. school districts experience some level of chronic absenteeism, but half of the nation’s chronically absent students are concentrated in just 4 percent of its districts. Low-income children, English language learners, and children with disabilities miss the most school. In every state, missing too much school correlates with weaker standardized test scores
Did You Know?
-Missing 1-% or about 18 days can make it harder to learn to read
-Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
-Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
=Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
-Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work
-Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves.
-Starting in Kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school
Parents and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the bottom-line responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day. Just as parents should focus on how their children are performing academically, they have a responsibility to set expectations for good attendance and to monitor their children’s absences, so that missed days don’t add up to academic trouble.