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Cutting absenteeism in primary schools

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“A pilot program reduced absenteeism in elementary schools by an average of 10 percent, according to a new study by Duke researchers. Chronic absenteeism is linked to poor grades, low test scores and eventually, dropping out of high school. While most truancy prevention efforts focus on middle and high school students, the Early Truancy Prevention Program concentrates on first- and second-grade students. The pilot was field-tested at five schools in a mid-sized North Carolina school district. This is among the first programs for primary school students that has been effective in improving absenteeism rates.”(more)

37 States Are Using Their ESSA Plans to Crack Down on Chronic Student Absences. So How Will They Do It?

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Chronic absenteeism in schools is like bacteria in hospitals: an invisible force undoing all the good work done elsewhere, as one researcher posited. It doesn’t matter how strong the teaching or curriculum or anything else in a school is if students aren’t there to learn it, Bob Balfanz, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and head of the Everyone Graduates initiative, said at a panel Tuesday at Georgetown University.”(more)

New Study Finds 1 in 4 Teachers Chronically Absent From Classrooms; Problem Is Three Times Worse in Traditional Schools

The 74 Million – David Cantor

“Teachers in traditional district schools are three times as likely to be chronically absent from the classroom as those in charter schools, meaning they are gone for more than 10 days in a typical 180-day school year, a new research paper has found. In all, 28.3 percent of teachers in traditional schools, compared with 10.3 percent in charters, miss that much time, according to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education-focused think tank, in a study on teacher absenteeism nationwide released Wednesday. The totals include both sick and personal days.”(more)

Chronic Absenteeism: An Old Problem in Search of New Answers

Education Next – Brian A. Jacob and Kelly Lovett

“A recent report by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) identifies “chronic absenteeism” as a hidden educational crisis. [1] In 2013-14, roughly 14 percent of students nationwide were chronically absent—defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days, excused or unexcused, which in most states would correspond to about 18 days of school missed each year. [2] In some cities, that rate is considerably higher, with Detroit topping the list at 57.3 percent of students chronically absent. [3] Absenteeism is not a new concern, however. Educators and local officials were focused on this issue as early as the late 19th century—a quarter of the juveniles jailed at the Chicago House of Correction in 1898 were there for truancy. [4] From Tom Sawyer to Ferris Bueller, truancy has been a staple of popular culture in the U.S.”(more)

How Did Chronic Absenteeism Become a Thing?

Education Next – Phyllis W. Jordan

“If you look at the accountability systems states are developing to meet federal requirements, you’ll see a growing number are using chronic absenteeism as a metric. Education Week calls it “super popular.” It makes sense. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to have a non-academic measure, and absenteeism is an easy one to use. Every school collects attendance data, and teachers have been taking the roll since the one-room schoolhouse. Beyond that, chronic absenteeism—a measure of both excused and unexcused absences—can be a window into what’s wrong and what’s right with a school. It can reflect an engaged student body and a positive school climate. Or it can signal serious health and safety concerns in a community.”(more)

Hard to Game, Easy to Use: Chronic Absenteeism Gains Ground as New ESSA Measure of Student Success

The 74 Million – Matt Barnum

“Everyone, for once, seemed to agree. D.C. politicians, state superintendents, teachers — all said that No Child Left Behind placed too much emphasis on big, bad standardized tests. State assessments, critics complained, could be be gamed: taught to or cheated on. The tests weren’t complete measures of student learning, many complained, and they incentivized schools to focus narrowly on reading and math, at the expense of other subjects. Proficiency measures of performance might cause teachers to pay less attention to students far above or way below that bar. Now critics, at least to some extent, have gotten their wish. A new accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal K-12 education law that replaced No Child Left Behind, allows states to use measures other than test scores to judge schools, though academic measures, including test scores, still need to carry more weight.”(more)