Chronic Absenteeism: A key indicator of student success

Published: June 2017
By: Education Commission of the states, Alyssa Rafa

For students to succeed academically, they must be present and engaged at school. Nationwide, approximately 6.8 million—or one in seven—students miss 15 or more days during the school year. By most definitions, these students are considered ‘chronically absent.’ Research shows that chronic absenteeism can affect academic performance in later grades and is a key early warning sign that a student is more likely to drop out of high school. Several statesenacted legislation to address this issue, and many states are currently discussing the utility of chronic absenteeism as an indicator of school quality or student success (SQSS) in their accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This policy brief provides information for policymakers and state education leaders on the research, key issues and policy options available to address chronic absenteeism and improve attendance.

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