Which States’ Kids Miss the Most School?

Sep 15, 2014 by

Turns out that tracking kids who don’t show up helps schools get better.

—By Julia Lurie

September is upon us, and American kids are filling up their backpacks. But lots of kids won’t be going back to school—at least not very much. The map above shows the results of a national report released Tuesday by nonprofit Attendance Works, which zooms in on a statistic called “chronic absenteeism,” generally defined as the number of kids who miss at least 10 percent of school days over the course of a year. The measure has become popular among education reformers over the past few years because unlike other measures like average daily attendance or truancy, chronic absenteeism focuses on the specific kids who are regularly missing instructional time, regardless of the reason why or the overall performance of the school.

If you miss more than 10 percent of school days, your odds of scoring well on tests, graduating high school, and attending college are significantly lower.

Several studies have shown that missing 10 percent of school seems to be a threshold of sorts: If you miss more than that, your odds of scoring well on tests, graduating high school, and attending college are significantly lower. A statewide study in Utah, for example, found that kids who were chronically absent for a year between 8th and 12th grades were more than seven times more likely to drop out. The pattern starts early in the year: A 2013 Baltimore study found that half of the students who missed two to four days of school in September went on to be chronically absent.

The Attendance Works study, which used missing three days per month as a proxy for the 10 percent threshold, categorized students missing school by location, race, and socioeconomic status. Here’s what they found:

via Which States’ Kids Miss the Most School? | Mother Jones.

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