Our annual review of attendance policies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia shows that most states are making chronic absence data publicly available online.
In addition, most states are publishing data for the prior school year, which is a major improvement from two years ago when only nine states published data for the prior school year.
Today, the student chronic absence problem has ballooned into a national crisis. Far too many are missing so many days of school that is having a negative impact on student achievement. How can the collection and sharing of chronic absence data help us to address the sky high absenteeism rates, and low engagement, currently seen in schools?
When students are chronically absent (missing 10% of the school year), it is a warning sign that challenges in their home and community are preventing their participation or they aren’t being engaged by what is happening in school.
Data that is publicly available and easy to interpret on state education agency websites is a significant tool that allows everyone – from administrators to teachers to elected officials and community organizations – to see where the problems are, so they can work collaboratively and develop solutions.
The data also allows everyone to see where things are working well, so they can duplicate successful approaches in other schools or districts, as well as celebrate progress.
When state guidance on data collection is clear, it can ensure that attendance is consistently taken daily by schools. Daily attendance taking also is more accurate since as time passes it is harder to remember correctly whether a student was present or absent.
Daily attendance taking can also support relationship building in distance as well as in-person learning. When teachers take attendance in a caring manner, they can personalize attendance by greeting students by name and welcoming a student back after an absence.
Learn more in our review of state attendance policies Monitoring Data Matters Even More: A Review of State Attendance Data Policy and Practice in School Year 2022-23.
The report offers recommendations for states that include effective state-wide attendance procedures and policies for districts and schools. The recommendations focus on what states can do to ensure data is accurate, comparable and transparent and address how states can promote using attendance data to inform action.
Read our press release.