Students who are chronically absent—missing 10 percent or more school days per year—are at serious risk of falling behind at school and not graduating.i For example:
- Chronically absent preschool and kindergarten students are academically and developmentally behind their classmates who attend school regularlyii
- By 3rd grade, chronically absent students have lower reading and math achievement, signaling academic problems aheadiii
- Being chronically absent in 6th grade raises the likelihood of not graduating from high schooliv
- Students are 7 times more likely to drop out if they are chronically absent even just one year between 8th and 12th gradev
The resources in this collection share how schools and districts can implement multi-tiered systems to support student attendance.
School District Resources
Every Student, Every Day: A Multi-Tiered Approach to Reducing Chronic Absence in Elementary School
This video and accompanying resources are designed to show how schools and districts can use data to design and carry out strategies to reduce chronic absence—from building community awareness to providing intensive one-on-one support for students and families.
Infographic: Data Visualization Can Help Educators Address Chronic Absence
Learn about how displaying various data graphically can help educators more easily identify attendance patterns and groups of students who are chronically absent. The infographic provides examples of data visualizations using bar charts, line graphs, and maps, explaining what the chronic absence data reveal and offering possible next steps for school and district leaders.
Using Attendance Data for Decisionmaking: Strategies for State and Local Education Agencies
Presenters shared about their experiences conducting “deep dives” into student attendance data, including understanding the reasons that students are absent and building effective interventions to address them. This webinar included concrete examples of how state and local education agencies can work within and across their departments and communities to address chronic absence.
School District Examples
Attendance Matters! Kerman Unified School District
Description: Learn about districtwide approaches to supporting chronically absent students and “whatever-it-takes” strategies that are particularly promising in the elementary grades.
Attendance Matters! Parlier Unified School District
This video describes a communitywide “superhero campaign” to boost daily attendance. It shows how using data and positive messaging, along with intensive student and family supports, can reduce chronic absence.
Attendance Matters! Tulare City School District
In Tulare City School District, leaders are focusing on a particularly promising intervention for early learners called Operation Healthy Hands. This handwashing campaign is intended to reduce common health-related absences and aligns with the state’s developmental standards for students in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten.
Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: Every Day Counts!
This video explains the prevalence, causes, and consequences of chronic absence and how three Utah schools have boosted attendance through building schoolwide cultures of good attendance, using data to identify and monitor at-risk students, and personalizing outreach and support to these students.
More Resources on Promoting Attendance
- Report: Students’ Use of School-Based Telemedicine Service and Rates of Returning to Class After These Services in a Small Elementary School District (PDF)
- Blog Post: How Technology Brings Health Care to Students to School
- Blog Post: Addressing Chronic Absence in Salt Lake City
iBauer, L., Schanzenbach, D. W., & Shambaugh, J. (2018). Reducing chronic absenteeism under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Brookings Institution.
iiErlich, S. B., Gwynne, J. A., Pareja, A. S., & Allensworth, E. (2013). Preschool attendance in Chicago Public Schools. University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.
iiiBalfanz, R., & Byrnes, V. (2012). Chronic absenteeism: Summarizing what we know from nationally available data. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools. (PDF)
ivBalfanz, R., & Byrnes, V. (2012). Chronic absenteeism: Summarizing what we know from nationally available data. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools. (PDF)
vUniversity of Utah. (2012). Research brief: Chronic absenteeism. University of Utah Utah Education Policy Center.
This product was prepared under Contract ED-IES-17-C-0012 by Regional Educational Laboratory West. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.