Recognizing the broad use of chronic absenteeism as an accountability metric for schools, researchers at The Hamilton Project released a report creating a framework for how to track and measure this important indicator. Researchers, led by Lauren Bauer, urge states to set realistic goals for improving attendance and watch for efforts to “game the system,” which often happens when an indicator gains more prominence.
The report includes the most up-to-date numbers on chronic absenteeism: An estimated 8 million students nationwide missed three weeks of school in the 2015-16 school years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. It also explores trends in attendance, in terms of age and socioeconomic factors and discusses the role that poverty and health concerns play.
The report closes with examples of strategies that have worked to reduce absenteeism, including mentoring program for students and connecting with families through home visits and texting.