Chronic absence matters beginning in the early grades and contributes to the academic achievement gap. Missing school has profound implications on the socio-economic vitality of our communities.
Why Addressing Chronic Absence Matters:
• Poor attendance habits are often acquired early and can leave children unable to master reading by the end of third grade, setting them up for academic struggles later. A study conducted by the UEPC showed that first, second, and third grade students in Utah who were chronically absent during the school year were significantly less likely to read on grade level at the end of the year.
• One in 10 kindergarteners and first graders are chronically absent.
• An analysis conducted by Attendance Works found that chronic absence in first grade predicted later chronic absence, poor academic performance and higher suspension rates in the sixth grade.
• As early as sixth grade, absenteeism can predict whether a student will drop out. Other early indicators include poor grades in core courses and behavior leading to suspensions.
• Even students who miss just 10 days a year are less likely to graduate or to enroll in college. The Utah study found that a student who is chronically absent in any year between eighth and twelfth grade is 7.4 times more likely to drop out. The study also showed that the effects were cumulative with the odds of dropping out doubling each year the student was chronically absent.
Chronic absence can be reduced when schools, community agencies and families work together to build a habit of attending school every day and to reduce barriers to school attendance . Examples of how schools, cities, and states can accomplish this can be found on the Attendance Works website at: www.attendanceworks.org/attendancemonth.