New York Targets Chronic Absenteeism in Its ESSA Plan: 4 Things Research Shows About Attendance
- An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students miss 18 or more days of a school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
- An October report released by the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution shows that student attendance is linked to a variety of positive outcomes. One example: High attendance correlates with higher rates of student growth:
- Unlike other school climate measures, which typically involve surveys that could easily be skewed or manipulated, proponents of accountability see attendance as a less fudgable measure. After all, attendance is much more objective — either students are in school or they’re not.
- Some experts caution that chronic absenteeism may be correlated with factors out of schools’ control, penalizing them for taking in students in poverty, for example. Using a metric correlated with poverty could have a number of unintended consequences, such as identifying the wrong schools for sanction or dissuading teachers from working with the neediest students. On the other hand, targeting additional resources and support for disadvantaged schools may be especially helpful.
Read Matt Barnum’s full report — “Hard to Game, Easy to Use: Chronic Absenteeism Gains Ground as New ESSA Measure of Student Success”
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