Monitor Attendance Data and Practice

Data Analysis and Tools

The best way to identify students with poor attendance is to calculate the data that schools are already collecting. In addition to looking at school-wide averages, as most schools do, shift the data to see how many students are missing 10 percent of the school year.

Attendance Works has created free data tools–the DATT and the SATT–to examine patterns and identify which students are at risk due to poor attendance.

If you can’t look at chronic absence, average daily attendance (ADA) numbers can provide some direction about focusing resources. Generally, schools with ADA rates higher than 97 percent have little trouble with chronic absence, while those with rates below 93 percent almost always have too many students missing too many days. At schools with 95 percent ADA, chronic absence rates can vary dramatically.

Attendance Teams

Once you’ve analyzed your attendance data, each school should have a team in place that meets regularly to review the school’s attendance data and coordinate efforts to reduce chronic absence. Schools will need to determine whether this should be a team devoted exclusively to attendance or an existing team that has attendance added to its broader functions and responsibilities.

Self-Assessment Tools

The first step to your students’ success is determining how well your district addresses chronic absence now. Use these tools to identify if your school or district is engaging in the practices known to help improve overall attendance and reduce the numbers of children missing so much school that they are academically at risk. The result should help you determine a plan of action that builds upon strengths, while recognizing the biggest gaps to be addressed to adopt an effective and comprehensive approach.

Positive Outliers Toolkit

Do you have a school in your district that is beating the odds, recording higher attendance rates than schools with similar student populations? If so, do you know why? Chronic absence data not only can reveal the scope of attendance problems but also pinpoint the schools with the practices and leadership that are making a difference. This toolkit will help you look beyond the numbers and find out how these positive outliers are bringing more kids to school every day.