Using Chronic Absence Data to Improve Conditions for Learning

Using Chronic Absence Data to Improve Conditions for Learning

Education leaders, community partners, and policy makers can use data on chronic absenteeism to address inequities and improve outcomes, a report from Attendance Works and the American Institutes for Research finds. Funded by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the California Endowment, and the Jonathan Logan FamilySkillman, and Stuart foundations, the report, Using Chronic Absence Data to Improve Conditions for Learning (28 pages, PDF), found that an engaging, supportive, welcoming, and culturally responsive school environment helps motivate students to attend and families to help their children get to school, even when there are obstacles to overcome. Defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, chronic absenteeism is often a sign that students, especially the most underserved, lack the opportunities and support they need to stay on track to read at grade level, graduate on time, and pursue postsecondary education. According to the report, four essential conditions — physical and emotional health and safety; a sense of belonging, connectedness, and support; academic challenge and engagement; and social and emotional competence on the part of both adults and students — help create an environment conducive to learning and boosts not only student attendance, motivation, engagement, achievement, and well-being but also teacher satisfaction, attendance, and retention.