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Why Good Attendance Matters


Why Good Attendance Matters

Chronic absence has a dramatic negative effect on students and their academic performance.

An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year, according to Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance. Chronic absence – which includes both excused and unexcused absences – puts young children behind their peers, typically results in lower standardized test scores and can even cost some districts money, where state funding is based on attendance instead of enrollment.

Attendance Works defines chronic absence as missing 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days in most districts. The number isn’t as large as it seems – it breaks down to an average of just two absences per month.
So how are schools encouraging kids to fill those classroom seats?

Twenty years ago, the incentive for good or perfect attendance was a certificate at the end of the year. Now that the effects of poor attendance are becoming more apparent, districts are stepping up the incentive. Awards for good attendance range from movie tickets and alarm clocks to bicycles and laptops.

September is Attendance Awareness Month, an excellent way to promote a school year full of good attendance right as students return to school. What incentives does your school have for good attendance?