Who’s In: Chronic Absenteeism Under ESSA

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When Congress rewrote the federal education law in 2015, lawmakers sought to scale back the emphasis on standardized test scores in school accountability. The result was the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which requires states to include five indicators measuring school performance: four focused on academic achievement, and a fifth, “non-academic” measure of school quality or student success.


In response, a majority of state leaders have adopted chronic student absenteeism as their “fifth indicator.”

In its new report, FutureEd provides a comprehensive review of the provisions in all 51 state ESSA plans, as well as the results of an analysis of federal chronic absenteeism data. Drawing on this research, we offer a roadmap for leveraging ESSA to keep more students in school and on a path to academic success.

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State-by-State Table

FutureEd’s research on each state’s accountability rubric.

Writing the Rules

A report on the disparate rules governing chronic absenteeism

ESSA's Non-Academic Indicator

An analysis of state accountability rubrics

We Can Fix Chronic Absenteeism

A commentary piece by Phyllis W. Jordan and Hedy Chang in Education Week

A Simple Way to Confront School Absences

A commentary piece by Phyllis W. Jordan and Philip J. Cook in The Charlotte Observer

California Must Set Ambitious Goals to Combat Chronic Absenteeism

A commentary by Phyllis W. Jordan in EdSource