Geographic Data Helping Assess Chronic Absenteeism

How Data Can Help You Combat Chronic Absenteeism

For a long time, districts have been measuring attendance the wrong way: looking at average daily attendance instead of chronic absenteeism, which the U.S. Department of Education defines as missing more than 20 days of school in a typical 180-day year. But starting in 2006, when the Annie E. Casey Foundation commissioned some research, districts began gathering data on pupil-by-pupil absentee rates instead.

According to an article in Governing magazine, when several universities researched the long-term impact of absenteeism they found that the greatest factor in predicting high school dropouts is ninth-grade attendance. Learning how to collect and use the right data is the first step toward combating chronic absenteeism.

Other steps districts can take to address the problem, taken from the U.S. DoE Homeroom blog, include taking daily attendance and communicating with families, implementing solid tracking systems and reviewing them throughout the day to make sure students aren’t being marked absent when they come into school late, and working with community partners and agencies to determine root causes of chronic absenteeism such as social-emotional issues or homelessness.

With the right data, your district can use the information to put targeted interventions in place and form an action plan.

Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that pushes for better policy and practice to improve school attendance, helps districts address this issue. One district they worked with compared chronic absence rates by school with asthma rates and noticed a high correlation between high asthma rates and schools that were located between two major freeways. The district partnered with the local health agency to offer asthma management and treatment.

“When you break down the data by school or grade level, you can take customized preventive steps,” says Cecelia Leong, Associate Director for Programs for Attendance Works. “The data allows you to get very efficient early-warning indicators to allocate your resources.”

As the saying goes, “You have to be present to learn.”

For Prospects: Find out how GuideK12, geovisual analytics can be an important tool in your toolkit for addressing chronic absenteeism and insuring all students succeed.

For Customers: Have you loaded your attendance data into GuideK12? Contact us to learn more.

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