5 attendance metrics to watch as you reduce absenteeism this school year
With a brand new school year underway, you’re already working overtime to make sure students have access to every possible opportunity to learn and connect with their peers and teachers. While you may have numerous initiatives already rolling to improve attendance, it’s important to keep your eye on several key metrics to measure the impact of your campaigns and determine in which areas and for which students you may need to focus additional attention. Read on as we review five key attendance metrics to help guide your efforts this year.
Average Daily Attendance (ADA)
Average Daily Attendance is the average percentage of students present each day, over the course of the entire school year. If you live in an ADA state like Texas or California, you’re likely well acquainted with average daily attendance, as important funding streams can hinge on this attendance metric. While average daily attendance is important to watch, it shouldn’t be the only one you’re looking at. It can often paint a much rosier picture of attendance and mask a high chronic absenteeism rate.
Even when overall average daily attendance rates look high, there can be a chronic absenteeism crisis if a significant percentage of the absences is from the same group of students missing school regularly, as opposed to most students missing a couple of days throughout the year. It’s similar to the way that a high average 8th grade math score can overshadow the students who are struggling and need extra help.
The chronic absenteeism crisis has gotten a lot of press over the last few months. Put simply, chronic absenteeism is defined by a student missing 10% or more of school days. Closely tracking chronic absenteeism can be a shift for both educators and families alike, as it includes absences that were excused by families as well as those that were unexcused. Sometimes, building agreement around the importance of attending school every day may require some work in building a culture of attendance, where families understand that even if an absence was excused, it can still have a negative impact on a student’s achievement.
Given its impact on academic success, social growth, and even career success, it’s essential to keep an eye on your school and district’s chronic absenteeism numbers. An MTSS attendance dashboard like EveryDay Pro can easily help you keep track of both average daily attendance and chronic absenteeism and help you hone in on challenges and steer and adjust your attendance efforts as needed.
Truancy (Unexcused Absences)
While many districts are making the shift to tracking chronic absenteeism (excused + unexcused absences), they must also remain in compliance with state truancy laws. Truancy only measures unexcused absences, and has historically been addressed through jargon-heavy truancy notices, punitive language, and escalations to court.
Truancy remains an important metric to watch, however prevention is often the best cure for this problem, and early outreach to families of students who are absent can help prevent more severe challenges down the line. For a low-lift and restorative approach to truancy, check out our new Truancy Support solution, featuring truancy notices that engage families as partners and are 40% more effective than the standard notice.
Research has shown that students who show high levels of absenteeism at the beginning of the school year are more likely to have even higher levels as the year progresses. A data tool like EveryDay Pro that automatically flags students who are missing more school early on in the year can be essential in helping you provide timely support and get ahead of more severe attendance challenges. And a proactive, low-lift approach to supporting all students is the universal Tier 1 solution, EveryDay Intervention, which sends personalized mail and text nudges to families of students who are chronically absent and at risk of chronic absenteeism.
Just as noticing early absences is important in efficiently supporting students and families, there are other key attendance patterns to watch that will help support your efforts. Are students in your district or school missing particular days of the week? Are students missing school before and/or after holidays?
Watching these patterns can help you make strategic adjustments to your school calendar, or inform campaigns that encourage attendance on what would otherwise be a dip day.
Looking for solutions to help you stay on top of the right attendance metrics? EveryDay Labs has a full ecosystem of solutions to help you get student attendance back on track for success.