January 4, 2023

MTSS Corner: How equitable are your attendance intervention systems?

While your school and district may already be looking carefully at academic and behavioral data broken down by subpopulations, this practice is less commonly applied to attendance data. That being said, we know there is a strong connection between a student’s attendance and their long-term learning outcomes, which is why it’s so essential that we also look at attendance data through an equity lens.

If you aren’t already disaggregating your attendance data, it may be helpful to use an attendance analytics platform such as EveryDay Pro to more easily see patterns and trends in your school community. Students from various subgroups may often have additional or unique barriers to attendance from their peers, and could benefit from targeted support and campaigns. We recommend analyzing attendance rates and chronic absenteeism rates by the following subgroup:

  • Race and/or ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Special Education status
  • Housing status
  • English Language Learner status
  • Qualification for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL status)

After breaking down the data, spend some time with your attendance team reviewing any trends or disparities between these subgroups of students. During these conversations, it’s important to set strong norms around using data and asking questions (rather than jumping to conclusions) about why these disparities exist. As a team, you can set specific goals and benchmarks to work towards making your attendance outcomes more equitable across groups of students.

In order to move towards these goals, we recommend learning directly from students and families about the specific types of challenges they are experiencing, and then creating targeted interventions and supports to address their needs. It may be helpful to set a goal of connecting with a significant sample of students and families from your prioritized subgroups - you can use a Barrier Assessment to learn about their barriers to attendance, and don’t forget to keep track of the information you learn in a tool such as EveryDay Pro, so you can see trends across students and strategically design interventions to maximize the impact of your intervention plan.

While achieving equity in our education system is a goal that requires long-term commitment, there are steps you can take today to create more equitable systems of support for your students. 

To learn more about how you can design and implement more effective attendance interventions to meet ALL of your students’ needs, check out our blog, featuring more tips for your MTSS, including  implementing Tier 2 interventions, grade-specific attendance campaigns, and much more. 

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