Nearly three quarters of states now include chronic absenteeism in their rubrics for assessing schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This reflects the metric’s value for identifying students headed off track academically and targeting resources to students and schools who need the most support. But the increased scrutiny brings increased pressure to ensure data are accurate and used effectively. A new report from FutureEd and Attendance Works lays out the following steps to strengthen attendance collection and to ensure districts are using the data to identify schools and students who need the most help.
- Setting a consistent definition of the length of the school day
- Defining what counts as an absence
- Establishing clear procedures on withdrawing or disenrolling students
- Ensuring data systems are set up to audit and catch anomalies
- Providing public access to chronic absenteeism records
- Training attendance clerks and teachers to record attendance accurately
- Equipping school and district leaders to use the data effectively