Blog Article

Chronic Absence Remained A Significant Challenge in 2022-23

October 12, 2023

Since we published this post, more states have released 2022-23 school year chronic absence data. Learn more from FutureEd’s Tracking State Trends in Chronic Absenteeism and AEI’s Return2Learn Tracker.

A number of states have released chronic absence data for the 2022-23 school year. This emerging data reveals chronic absence remains very high and only decreased slightly from the prior school year.

The data was aggregated across 11 states (DE, CO, CT, MA, MS, NE, NV, NM, ND, OH, VA). In the 2022-23 school year there was only a small (2.23%) decrease in chronic absence rates, to 27.85%, when compared to the prior year, our analysis shows. As this table illustrates, all of the states reporting early showed a decrease when compared with the 2021-22 school year; The amount of decrease varies by state.

Similar to our new analysis of national data released by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2021-22 school year, the data from these 11 states showed a 30.08% chronic absence rate for the 2021-22 school year.

This data demonstrates that the high levels of chronic absenteeism occurring in the 2021-22 school year were not an anomaly. Re-establishing a routine of attendance every day will require intentional, sustained and systemic efforts at the local, state and national level to address the disengagement and increased barriers to attendance occurring during the pandemic and in its aftermath.

There is good news: We don’t have to start from scratch. We can build upon what has been learned about effective responses to chronic absenteeism over the past decade or more. See for example, the Attendance Playbook and Learnings from the Grad Partnership, both with interventions that work.

Learn more about how high and deep the chronic absence wave went in the 2021-22 school year in our analysis of the most recent data release by the U.S. Department of Education. The number of schools where chronic absence levels were very high or extreme, (20% to 30% of students were chronically absent) significantly increased. When absenteeism levels are this high they impact the entire school. We also discussed actions to address this troubling educational crisis.

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