What is Chronic Absenteeism?
In Tennessee, we classify a student as chronically absent if she or he misses at least 10 percent of the school year for any reason.
The Consequences of Chronic Absenteeism
Studies from around the country have explored the consequences of chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is related to higher numbers of disciplinary incidents, higher disengagement, and lower academic achievement—both in the short and long term—which decrease the likelihood that a student graduates high school on time and enrolls in postsecondary. In kindergarten, being chronically absent may lead to worse academic performance in first grade, which results in a smaller likelihood of reading at grade level by third grade. For economically disadvantaged students, missing school is particularly harmful to literacy development, even more so than for non-economically disadvantaged students. A variety of non-school issues, including students’ chronic health conditions and housing instability, often lead to chronic absenteeism; however, schools and parents can play a role in reducing the likelihood of a student being chronically absent. Schools and educators can use data to identify students more likely to be chronically absent, establish communication systems, and employ existing support services and involve community stakeholders in the development of a comprehensive strategy to reduce chronic absenteeism.
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