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Attendance Matters - chronic absence wrecks learning
Posted in , on September 16, 2022

Chronic Absence equals poor performance

Why does school attendance matter so much?

Because the opposite – being absent – wrecks learning. That’s why Arlington ISD is highlighting Attendance Awareness Month throughout September.

There is no way for students to keep up with school if they’re not there. And it doesn’t take many absences to add to big problems. Missing just 10% of the school year qualifies as “chronic absence.” That means missing just two-three days a month.

Missing just two to three days a month might not sound like a big deal, but it equates to poor performance, like lower reading proficiency, math scores and graduation rates. The bottom line is that students don’t learn what they need to know, which can negatively affect their lives.

“School attendance is a powerful predictor of how students perform,” said Dr. Tracie Brown, Arlington ISD’s chief schools officer. “When students are consistently in class, they have direct and immediate access to learning which supports their acquisition of skills and keeps them engaged throughout their educational journey.”

It Starts Early

A child’s educational foundation starts early, and the skills and knowledge they learn in kindergarten and first grade can impact the rest of their schooling – and their entire lives.

Research shows that chronic absentees in kindergarten have the lowest performance in first grade. Already behind in first grade, these students’ academic problems only snowball as they grow older.

Chronic absence in early grades correlates to difficulty reading in third grade and low achievement in middle school or junior high. By sixth grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school (BERC).

Act Now

According to Attendance Works, chronic absence has more than doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with about 16 million students nationwide. It’s nothing short of a national crisis, but it doesn’t have to be. The school year has just started, and there is still time to get kids in school. If everyone – parents, teachers, students and all community members pitch in and do what they can – millions of lives can be impacted.

So, now is the time to act, to make sure your students make it to school. It’s not always easy for everyone to get to school, but the long-term benefits of going and not going make the effort more than worthwhile.

Learn more about the importance of school attendance and what you can do to help at the Attendance Awareness Campaign 2022.