Why Regular Attendance Matters

(August 15, 2017) – Regular school attendance is predictive of academic achievement, employability skills, and future economic well-being. Missing just 2 days each month has been found to greatly increase the risk of a student not graduating from high school.

Research shows a direct relationship between regular school attendance and student learning outcomes (Gottfried, 2010Lamdin, 1996London, Sanchez & Castrechini, 2016Roby, 2004). There is no substitute for a missed instructional opportunity due to chronic absence. Students can’t learn if they aren’t present.

The early years of elementary school are essential to develop literacy, numeracy and social skills (Applied Survey Research, 2011). According to Sparks (2011), "a student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time." If poverty is added as a factor then the below grade level student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than their his/her proficient or wealthier peer (Sparks, 2011).

Poor attendance during the elementary years widens skill gaps that may prove difficult to impossible to overcome through remedial efforts (Attendance Works, 2014). Research indicates that absenteeism in middle and high school can accurately predict high school dropout rates (Balfanz & Chang, 2016Ginsburg, Jordan & Chang, 2014).

Habits such as regular school attendance become lifelong habits that inform workforce readiness in later years. Regular school attendance is critical for our children's future economic well-being. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest a strong correlation between educational attainment, employment, and weekly earnings (see below).