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High schools and marginalized student groups continue to display higher chronic absenteeism rates, according to a new study.

These attendance management strategies can reduce chronic absenteeism


High schools and marginalized student groups continue to display higher chronic absenteeism rates

Key points:

School districts implementing proactive, consistent attendance interventions saw a 22 percent improvement in chronic absenteeism rates from 2021-22 to 2022-23, versus only a 7 percent improvement nationally over that same timeframe, according to National K-12 Attendance Data Trends, a SchoolStatus report that examines attendance trends of nearly 1 million K-12 students.

These districts implemented proactive, positive attendance management strategies and tools over three consecutive school years (2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-2024).

This analysis examines chronic absenteeism rates and attendance rates across district size, grade levels, and student ethnicities and compares the SchoolStatus dataset to publicly reported national attendance data.

High school students and larger districts show high chronic absenteeism rates

  • In 2023-24, chronic absenteeism rates were highest among high school students at 27.74 percent for 9th graders, escalating to 31.84 percent of 12th graders
  • Chronic absenteeism was lowest in the early elementary grades, with a rate of 26 percent in kindergarten, and dropping to 16.5 percent by 3rd grade
  • Smaller districts (3,500> students) improved chronic absenteeism rates by 36.39 percent between the 2021-22 to 2023-24 school years
  • Large districts (20,000+ students) show just 19.63 percent improvement for the same time period

Chronic absenteeism continues to impact historically marginalized students

  • In 2023-24, students identifying as Black (30.1 percent), Hispanic/Latinx (25.72 percent), Native American (32.84 percent), and Pacific Islander (32.47 percent) had chronic absenteeism rates of 25 percent or higher
  • Asian students had the lowest chronic absenteeism rate at 10.49 percent; while white students had a chronic absenteeism rate of 18.36 percent
  • Hispanic students’ chronic absenteeism rate improved by 16.7 percent, double the 7 percent national improvement rate

“Attendance is critical across all grade levels and we’re continuing to see alarming rates of chronic absenteeism in U.S. schools year over year,” said Russ Davis, founder and CEO of SchoolStatus.

“Many districts use outdated techniques that focus on punishment rather than positive reinforcement. We have seen time and time again why those methods don’t work. By connecting with families to understand why their student is missing school and creating an encouraging school environment with open communication, we can get students back into the classroom.”

This press release originally appeared online.

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