Why Does Attendance Matter?

Our 3rd Grade Reading Action Network is focusing on improving school attendance by reducing the number of students who are chronically absent. Why does attendance matter?

Studies show that missing just 10 percent or more of school – whether absences are excused, unexcused or due to suspension – predicts lower levels of numeracy and literacy for students by third grade, class failure in middle school and higher levels of suspension. It also can lead to a higher likelihood that students will drop out of high school and will have lower levels of persistence in college. Chronic absence is problematic starting in preschool and kindergarten. The academic impact of absenteeism is greatest for children living in poverty whose families typically have fewer – and less access to – resources to make up for the lost school learning opportunities.

Source: “Preventing Missed Opportunity: Taking Collective Action to Confront Chronic Absence,” Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center, September 2016.

Attendance and chronic absenteeism are major challenges for many schools in Central Alabama. You can view interactive maps of Alabama’s attendance data through the report from the Alabama School Connection linked here.

Schools that see improvement in attendance rates tend to use the following best practices:

  1. They establish teams to look at attendance data, drive attention to the issue, and develop a plan to coordinate school-wide efforts to improve attendance.
  2. They create a tiered system of supports so that students’ attendance-related challenges are met with increasingly intensive levels of intervention as needed.
  3. They conduct school-wide professional development for all the staff in the building to understand attendance issues and maintain a welcoming school environment for students and parents.
  4. They ask for help! Community partners like the Bold Goals Coalition can connect schools with many resources to meet the needs of students and families, and can also help schools use data more effectively.

Source: “Develop Staff Capacity to Adopt Effective Attendance Practice,” Attendance Works, 2016.

The Bold Goals Education 3rd Grade Reading Action Network is partnering with schools and school systems in Central Alabama to spread these best practices region-wide. Improved attendance means improved reading proficiency! You can find more resources for improving attendance at http://boldgoals.org/attendance. The 3rd Grade Reading Action Network meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 12pm.

Click here to read more about our Bold Goals.