Why student absenteeism matters
Attendance is an important factor in school success among children and youth. Studies show that better attendance is related to higher academic achievement for students of all backgrounds, but particularly for children with lower socioeconomic status., Beginning in kindergarten, students who attend school regularly score higher on tests than their peers who are frequently absent.
Chronic truancy (frequent unexcused absence) is a strong predictor of undesirable outcomes in adolescence, including academic failure, dropping out of school, substance abuse, gang involvement, and criminal activity., However, chronic absence (regardless of reason) is increasingly identified as an important early warning sign that a student is at risk for school failure and early dropout. Chronic absenteeism is usually defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days. Unfortunately, few school districts currently have the capacity to analyze attendance data to identify those students who are chronically absent.
Many factors can contribute to student absenteeism. Family health or financial concerns, poor school climate, drug and alcohol use, transportation problems, and differing community attitudes toward education are among the conditions often associated with a child’s frequent absence from school.
Analysis and figures based on most recently available data. Data last updated December 2015.