Studies suggest missing school can lead to missing high school graduation

Updated: Oct 19, 2018


Photo courtesy of AttendanceWorks.org

Oct. 18, 2018 - Executive Director of Dropout Prevention and Support Services Dr. Pamela M. Davis has a passion for helping at-hope youth and has spent her more than 25-year career helping students defy the odds and graduate.


As part of National Dropout Prevention month, we sat down with Dr. Davis who shared some of her favorite lesser-known facts about how absenteeism affects a student's success in school.

  • The amount of school a student misses in the first month of the school year is a good predictor of absenteeism for the rest of the year. Studies done by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium found that students who miss between two and four days of school in the first month are likely to be absent nearly every month thereafter.

  • Attendance plays a critical role in the transition between grade levels. The University of Chicago found that attendance during the transition between eighth and ninth grade is vital. The more absent a student is, the harder the transition and the more likely the student is to drop out.

  • Chronic absenteeism affects reading proficiency. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more days in the school year, which amounts to two days each month. It may not seem like much, but studies done by Attendance Works show that children who were chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade often had difficulty reading proficiently by the time they were in third grade.

  • Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are four times more likely to be chronically absent than others. Poverty-stricken households often lack resources that are necessary to get children to school. Whether it’s caused by unreliable transportation or parents feeling too over-worked to get their children ready for school, these students are more likely to miss school and drop out before graduation.

  • When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects. Although this may seem like an obvious statement, remember it only takes two absences every month to make a negative impact on a student’s future.

For more information and resources on how to keep students engaged and successful in school, please visit our Dropout Prevention Guide.

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