- Absenteeism is a top predictor of academic success and can have serious consequences
- Solutions to chronic absenteeism will require long-term, strategic investment of time and resources
Districts across the country are grappling with elevated levels of chronic absenteeism that have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. The Associated Press and Stanford University’s Big Local News Project found that there were approximately 230,000 students in 21 states whose absences could not be accounted for when looking at changes in enrollment between the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 school years.
We also know a lot about the negative consequences of poor attendance: attendance is the number one predictor of academic achievement. Chronic absenteeism can have serious impacts on students, such as the inability to master basic grade-level skills, reduced access to food and counseling resources, and significantly higher rates of dropping out. Students who drop out of school have a far greater chance of entering the criminal justice system.
Addressing this issue will require a long-term, strategic investment of time and resources. It’s important for schools and districts to understand that much like the adage, “It takes 21 days to build a new habit and only seven days to break it,” a similar approach must be adopted to address absenteeism.
K-12 school administrators often need help as they track and improve student attendance. Based on experience working with districts, I would recommend these four tips for district leaders and educators who are working to address student absenteeism.
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