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School attendance and student achievement go hand-in-hand

on December 13, 2016

photo of a young student sitting at a deskThe research is clear: Students who attend school regularly are able to learn more, have fewer discipline problems, develop better study habits and often are more successful than students who do not.

Missing just one day of instruction can adversely affect student learning — and this is especially true for children living in poverty because they are less likely to have the resources necessary to make up for the loss of class time.

Good attendance includes arriving to school on time and ready to learn. When students are late to school, they miss valuable educational experiences and opportunities.

Chronic absences jeopardize academic success, increase risk of dropping out

Chronic absenteeism is defined as being out of school for 18 (or more) days over the course of a year (or an average of two to three days per month). This is essentially missing at least 10 percent of the school year based on a 180-day academic calendar, whether an absence is excused or unexcused.

Research shows that students–regardless of gender, socioeconomic status or ethnicity–fall behind academically when they are chronically absent.

Children chronically absent in kindergarten show lower levels of achievement in math, reading and common knowledge during first grade. That same research shows that youngsters who continue on the path of chronic absence through first grade are less likely to read proficiently in third grade.

The National Center for Education Statistics cites studies that link poor attendance at an early age with serious repercussions in later years.

High school dropouts were found to have a history of negative behaviors, including higher levels of absenteeism throughout their childhood than those of high school graduates. For example, students who eventually dropped out of high school missed significantly more days of school in first grade than their peers who graduated.

In eighth grade, this pattern became even more apparent, and by ninth grade, attendance has been shown to be a key indicator significantly correlated with high school graduation.

Visit everystudentpresent.org/parents/ for a series of quick videos showing strategies to help your child attend school every day.

Some ways to help your child.

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