Chronic Absenteeism


Child writing

What is chronic absenteeism?

Chronic absenteeism is one of several indicators on Oklahoma School Report Cards, which is designed to give parents and communities an annual snapshot of student learning, progress, and achievement.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education considers students chronically absent after missing 10 percent or more of school days. This includes both excused and unexcused absences. Consider what it means when your child misses just one day of school every two weeks:
  • That would be 18 days missed per year, which is equal to missing an entire month.
  • Over 13 years of schooling, that many absences would equal an entire year of education lost.
Based on Sapulpa Public Schools’ 167-day school year calendar, a student who misses 16 days would be deemed chronically absent. Being absent that often can impact a student’s capacity to learn. What are the impacts?

IMPACT ON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT
  • Students missing 16+ days in PreK and K:
    • Have a greater likelihood of continued poor attendance. Fifty percent were chronically absent in year two and 45 percent were chronically absent in year three.
    • Have lower outcomes in reading and math.
    • Are more often retained (26 percent compared to 9 percent of students without chronic absence.
    • Are more likely to be identified as needing special education.
  • Starting in PreK, the more years a student has of chronic absence, the higher the need for intensive reading support by 2nd grade.
  • Only 17 percent of students who are chronically absent in K and 1st Grade score proficiently on 3rd Grade state reading tests.
  • Compared to Kindergartners who attend school regularly, those who are chronically absent:
    • Scored 20 percent lower in reading and math in later grades and the gap continues to grow.
    • Are two times more likely to be retained.
    • Are two times more likely to be suspended by the end of the 7th Grade.
IMPACT ON MIDDLE SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT
  • Compared to Kindergartners who attend school regularly, those who are chronically absent are two times more likely to be suspended by the end of the 7th Grade.
  • Each year of chronic absence in elementary school is associated with a substantially higher probability of chronic absence in the 6th Grade.
  • Chronic absence in 1st Grade is also associated with lower 6th Grade test scores and higher levels of suspension.
  • Students who are chronically absent in middle school are more likely to drop out of high school.
IMPACT ON HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE ACHIEVEMENT
  • With every year of chronic absenteeism, the chance of a student dropping out of high school increases.
  • More than 60 percent (61.3) of students who were chronically absent for four years between 8th and 12th grades drop out of high school before they graduate.
  • Good attendance rates in 9th Grade and beyond are correlated with success in college.
  • Only 11 percent of chronically absent high school students persist into a second year of college versus 51 percent with low absences.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • Don’t allow your child to stay home unless he/she is truly sick. Keep in mind, a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher or counselor if the child seems anxious about going to school.
  • Keep your child at home if he/she is running a fever, vomiting, or has diarrhea. If they don't have these symptoms, send them to school.
  • Avoid medical appointments during school hours.
  • Avoid scheduling vacations when school is in session.
  • Avoid being late to school which can lead to poor attendance and lost time in the classroom. Tardies and early release times count against attendance.
  • Develop a back-up plan for getting to school when something unforeseen happens.



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