Chronic Absenteeism

The Oklahoma State Department of Education works together with families, schools, and communities 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.


Webinar: Using Attendance Data for Decisionmaking: Strategies for State and Local Education Agencies

Apr 26, 2018 11:30 AM Pacific Time 

Presenters Sue Fothergill (Attendance Works) and Laura Hansen (Metro Nashville Public Schools) will share highlights from their work conducting “deep dives” into student attendance data, including understanding the reasons that students are absent and building effective interventions to directly address them. Drawing from the recent National Forum on Education Statistics’ “Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data” and Attendance Works’ “Key Ingredients for Systemic Change,” this webinar will include concrete examples of how state and local education agencies can work within and across their departments and communities to address chronic absence.

Click here for more information and to register.


What is Chronic Absenteeism?

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

Chronic absence is often overlooked because educators have traditionally only examined truancy (unexcused absences) and average daily attendance (how many students show up every day).


Why Attendance Matters?

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 (Schanzenbach, Bauer & Mumford, 2016) based on the accountability requirements listed in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Students who are chronically absent in middle school are more likely to drop out of high school (BERC, 2011).

Chronically absent 3rd graders were less likely to be reading on grade level (Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, 2016).

What Can I Do?

The issue of chronic absenteeism is an issue everyone can help to address.

Key interconnections include:

  • Health Services (school nurses, school-based clinics, individualized healthcare plans)
  • School Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services (school counselors, social workers, psychologists)
  • Nutrition (access to healthy school meals, universal breakfast, food insecurity programs)
  • Healthy School Environment (access to good indoor air quality, positive school culture)
  • Physical Education/Physical Activity (favorably affects student health status and builds interconnectedness)

Tool Kits

For resources on how to get started and best practices, check out our Tool Kit page.


Last updated on October 11, 2018