What Activates Support at Each of the 3 Tiers?

Attendance Works recommends tracking and monitoring an expanded set of attendance measures to help identify students and student groups in need of outreach and support as early as possible. When used together, these data paint a holistic picture of whether students are positioned to benefit from opportunities to learn. Find examples of practices you can consider using for each tier here.

Foundational and Tier 1 Supports - Universally Offered
  • Foundational and Tier 1 attendance supports should be available for all students throughout the school year! Foundational supports promote the positive conditions for learning that ensure students are engaged and want to show up to school.  

  • Tier 1 raises awareness about the vital role strong attendance plays in student achievement. These strategies are designed to motivate satisfactory attendance for every student. If a school has high levels of chronic absence, it can be a sign that a greater investment is needed in nurturing positive conditions for learning and offering Tier 1 universal attendance strategies. 

When to Add Tier 2 Early Intervention

Provide Tier 2 supports to students who missed 10% or more of school (18 days or more in an 180-day school year) during the prior school year. Remember, this includes all days missed regardless of the reason. Whether students attend school in person, remotely or with a hybrid schedule, missing 10% of school is the early warning sign that a student is off track. 

During the current school year, activate Tier 2 assistance when a student misses two days in the first month, a total of four days by the end of the second month, six days by the end of the third month and so on. Early attendance patterns are highly predictive of later absences for both in-person and remote settings. Click on the image below to enlarge it. 


Research from Connecticut showed that attendance in the beginning of the year predicted chronic absence in the spring for remote and hybrid as well as in-person learning. 

When to Add Tier 3, Intensive Intervention

Provide Tier 3 supports to students who missed 20% or more of the past school year. During the current school year, activate Tier 3 supports whenever a student misses 20% or more of days enrolled. Finally, add Tier 3 supports when a student’s attendance has not improved during the current school year even with Tier 2 interventions.

Remember that each tier adds another layer of support. Students requiring additional Tier 2 or Tier 3 support still benefit, as all students do, from Foundational Supports and Tier 1!

What is Causing the Absence?

Understanding the root causes of absences as well as what motivates the student to attend can help determine the best course of action. Learn more about Root Causes of Absence and download a worksheet to help identify the likely causes of absenteeism.

Solutions for Each Tier 

The Attendance Playbook was developed by FutureEd in partnership with Attendance Works. Find strategies to address chronic absence divided into the three tiers of intervention. 

Use the Guide to Using the Attendance Playbook to select interventions that address the most common reasons for absence for your school’s students and their families.


Updated September 2022