Every Day Counts: Facts on Attendance, Achievement

Last Updated by Brendan Williams on

As most kids have returned the classroom by September, it seems appropriate that this month marks “Attendance Awareness Month.”

The goal of the month is to raise awareness around the importance of students attending school daily and how it connects to academic achievement.

According to several studies, missing several days of school significantly reduces the likelihood that students will graduate from high school.

With attendance a crucial factor to keeping kids on the right path to graduation, Attendance Works, which is a leader during this month, has substantial information on attendance and the impact on student achievement.

We’ve compiled some of the research below on why attendance matters.

Find out more information about Attendance Awareness Month and Attendance Works on their website.

Start Strong

Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict frequent absences later in the school year. Nearly half of all students that missed more than two days of school in September went on to miss almost a month of school.

Chronic Absences

An estimated 5 to 7.5 million students in the United States miss almost a month of school every year. This adds up to over a year missed by the time of graduation.

Early Absences Lead to Attendance Issues in Later Grades

Absenteeism starts early. One in 10 kindergarteners and first graders are considered to be “chronically absent.”

Chronic Absence = Missing two or more days per month

Research shows students who miss 10 percent of school, or two days per month, show negative academic progress. In some schools, that adds up to 18 days a school year and is considered to be chronic absence.

Third Grade Reading Level

Poor attendance can keep children from reading proficiently by the end of third grade, which is shown to negatively affect their chances of graduating on time.

Dropout Indicator

By sixth grade, a chronically absent student is shown to have a significantly higher chance of dropping out of high school.

Excused Absences Hurt Too

Excused absences are just as negative as unexcused ones. Suspensions add additional missed time in the classroom, which in turn increases the dropout risk.

At Risk Students are at Risk for Absence

Students from low-income families are four times more likely to be chronically absent. Reasons for this are often out of the student’s control, such as unreliable transportation, unstable housing, and a lack of access to quality health care.

Every Minute Matters

If a student is 10 minutes late to school each day, this adds up to missing more than 33 hours of class time. A student with a 90 percent attendance average for Kindergarten through 12th grade will miss over a year of accumulated time in the classroom.