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Form Four 2022
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Importance of School Attendance?
School attendance is a powerful predictor of student outcomes. In fact, irregular attendance can be a better predictor of whether students will drop out of school before graduation than test scores, according to the US Department of Education.
The correlation between attendance and dropout rates has important ramifications that go beyond the classroom. Compared to their peers who graduate, students who fail to complete their high school education are more likely to live in poverty, suffer poor health, and become involved in the criminal justice system.
Defining and Assessing Chronic Absenteeism in Schools
Chronic absenteeism is widely defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year. Schools generally recognize three categories of absences:
are those with a valid reason and that have been communicated to the school by a parent. Student illness or other medical conditions are the most common types of excused absence; other reasons include religious observances, medical appointments, and family emergencies.
Unexcused absences, or truancy
occur when students miss school without a valid reason. Examples include deliberately skipping school as well as missing school for reasons deemed invalid by the school, such as oversleeping or missing the bus.
are a result of school suspension.
While these categories of absences are relatively consistent from one institution to another, school attendance policies and practices vary. For example, some school policies make little or no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Similarly, school suspensions may be counted as absences by some school districts but not by others.
Such discrepancies speak to the challenge of collecting accurate and consistent attendance data, which is critical for education researchers and policymakers. Two sources of US public school attendance data––the Civil Rights Data Collection and attendance reporting under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015––merit closer examination.