Students Missing Class is a Red Alert But Researchers Say They Have a New Tool to Address the School Absence Problem

Educators consider chronic absenteeism a red alert — a blaring sign that a student might be academically at risk.  But schools and parents now have a new tool to investigate the problem, in the form of open-source data collected by UC Davis and research partners Attendance Works and Children Now.  Together, they produced “Seize the Data Opportunity in California: Using Chronic Absence to Improve Educational Outcomes.” The report uses an interactive map to pinpoint the type of schools that struggle with chronic absences.

Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year for any reason, a level educators say puts students at academic risk.  The report found more than 800 public schools in California had high rates of chronic absence, where 20 percent or more of their students met the risk threshold.  Schools have collected attendance data for years. But a new state reporting requirement allows researchers to better examine the depth of the problem.  READ MORE