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Chronic Absenteeism: A key indicator of student success

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NATIONWIDE, APPROXIMATELY ONE IN SEVEN STUDENTS MISSED 15 OR MORE DAYS OF INSTRUCTION IN 2013-14.1

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.2 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.3 Several states enacted 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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