June 27, 2023

3 Ways Chronic Absenteeism Impacts Student Achievement

Consistent attendance is one of the most vital components of success, whether it’s a new gym routine or K-12 education. However, in the wake of the pandemic, chronic absenteeism has posed a formidable threat to student achievement. When students miss school, they lose valuable opportunities that translate to significantly negative impacts on their overall educational journey. Here are just three.  

Learning Loss and Achievement Gaps: When students attend school regularly, they engage with their teachers and peers, build knowledge, and develop critical skills. Conversely, chronic absenteeism disrupts this crucial learning process, leading to significant learning gaps. Each missed day can result in missed lessons, assignments, and collaborative activities, making it increasingly challenging for students to catch up with their peers. Oftentimes, students living in poverty experience more barriers to attendance, amounting to more lost learning opportunities for the students who them most. These accumulated knowledge deficits can have tragic long-term consequences, impacting their ability to achieve important milestones such as third grade literacy, when students stop learning how to read and begin reading to learn.

Consistently missing school contributes to a staggering level of learning loss over K-12

Decreased Academic Performance: In our own research with our district partners, as well as more general findings nationwide, consistent absenteeism takes a toll on students' academic performance, leading to lower grades and reduced overall achievement. Falling behind academically can erode students' confidence, motivation, and self-esteem, further perpetuating a cycle of underachievement that becomes increasingly difficult to break. When students are absent, they miss out on their teachers’ expertise, their classmates’ creativity, and educational resources in which their district has invested. When students aren’t there to benefit from these expensive resources, both students and districts lose.

Negative Impact on Personal Development: School is not just about a stellar report card; it is a crucial venue for students to develop social and emotional skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Regular attendance fosters relationships with peers, encourages participation in extracurricular activities, and offers opportunities for personal growth. Conversely, chronic absenteeism can isolate students, making them feel disconnected from their classmates and miss out on important social interactions. Additionally, consistent absences may be indicative of underlying personal or family issues, which can further contribute to feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and emotional distress. These emotional challenges can have a significant impact on students' overall well-being and hinder their ability to engage fully in their studies.

While the impacts of chronic absenteeism are real, so are the solutions— there are numerous ways to improve chronic absenteeism. From strong family engagement to building a supportive school culture, you’ll find that when attendance improves, student achievement will soar with it. For even more smart strategies, check out the updated Attendance Playbook from FutureEd & Attendance Works. 

Looking for a way to reduce chronic absenteeism by 11-15%? Check out EveryDay Intervention!  

Getting students on track starts with attendance. We can help.