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Chronic Absenteeism and Your Child
Chronic Absenteeism and Your Child
Steve Doughty
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Chronic Absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism was recommended by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution to be adopted as the “fifth indicator” of student success and school quality based on the accountability requirements listed in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, Oklahoma will include chronic absenteeism as an indicator on each school’s A-F Report Card.

Research shows that attendance is an important factor in student achievement. Lawton Public Schools is working to address chronic absenteeism through qualitative measures such as encouraging relationships between schools and families, supporting student success through effective and engaging instruction, and student-focused quality improvement processes.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% or about 18 days in a normal 180 day school year          or 2 days a month

Evidence from several state-specific studies suggests:

  • even as early as preschool, chronic absenteeism is related to lower academic achievement
  • students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to achieve reading proficiency by third grade
  • by the sixth grade, chronic absenteeism becomes one of the primary indicators that a student will drop out of high school
  • students who are chronically absent for any year between eighth grade and twelfth grade are more than seven times more likely to drop out of school

The consequences of chronic absenteeism can persist through higher education and adulthood. High school drop-outs are more likely to experience poverty and diminished health, and have an increased risk of being involved in the criminal justice system.

Beyond high school, chronic absenteeism can predict lower levels of persistence and success in college.


The effects of lost school days, whether excused or not, denies students the opportunity to learn in accordance with the school's instructional program and become successful, career bound citizens.