Sixth graders regularly attend school

Students need to attend school to be academically successful.  Chronic absence, defined as missing 10 percent or more of school, is associated with poor academic performance.  Specifically, by 6th grade, chronic absence begins to predict high school drop-out rates.  This is a critical pivot point and a resolvable problem.

Most absences are excused or associated with suspension, meaning that the parent or caregiver signed off or the school created an opportunity for absence.  Therefore, we must ensure that our academic disciplinary policies and message to families is consistent: being in school matters.

attendance factWhile chronic absenteeism has the greatest effect on children who are economically disadvantaged, chronic absenteeism affects more than the student who misses class.  Teachers face greater challenges keeping the entire class on track when they must devote time to help chronically absent students catch up.

Of the more than 2,000 sixth graders in Central Oregon, 87 percent of them regularly attend school.  This means that 13 percent of sixth graders miss 10 percent or more of school.

Data Source: Hewitt, Krissi. “2013–14 Regional Achievement Compact Data.” Oregon Education Investment Board, Office of the Chief Education Officer. E-mail to authors, January 6, 2015.

Reference: Buehler, Melanie Hart, John Tapogna, Hedy N. Chang. “Why Being In School Matters: Chronic Absenteeism in Oregon Public Schools.” ECONorthwest, June 21, 2012.