Across the country, more than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into students having difficulty learning to read by the third-grade, achieving in middle school, and graduating from high school. Read this research summary for more details.
10 Facts about School Attendance
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.
Over 8 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year.
Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent.
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. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.
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, such as unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care.
When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.
Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students.
Most school districts and states don’t look at all the right data to improve school attendance. They track how many students show up every day and how many are skipping school without an excuse, but not how many are missing so many days in excused and unexcused absence that they are headed off track academically.
Is Kindergarten Attendance Important?
Kindergarten is critical for future learning. Your child will be learning important skills that will “set the course” for his or her school success!
Just look at these facts:
- Ability to learn – children who are absent too much (more than 10% of the time, or 18 days in a full school year) do less well in first grade. For some groups the difference is even greater.
- Fact: One in ten kindergarten and 1st grade students miss a month of school during the school year when all their absences are added up. That is critical learning being missed. Children who do not learn the building blocks and basic skills in the early grades must work much harder to stay afloat as they go on. Many never catch up.
- Fact: Chronic absence is the single strongest predictor of dropping out of school before graduation. Students who drop out of school are much more likely to be poor, unemployed, have substance abuse problems, be teen parents, and be involved with the law.
- Absent students miss out on social experiences and connections – lessons and relationships that help with fitting in and succeeding in school and life.
Missing school can put scholars in an academic hole that they cannot climb out of. Don’t let this happen to your child!