What is Chronic Absenteeism?
Experts in the field define chronic absenteeism as missing 10 percent or more of school days and severe chronic absenteeism as missing 20 percent or more of school days, including excused, unexcused and discipline-related absences (Ehrlich, Gwynne, Pareja, Allensworth, Moore, Jagesic, & Sorice, 2014; Buehler, Tapogna & Chang, 2012; Connoly & Olson, 2004). This definition is used at the National Technical Assistance Center to support attendance intervention, the state and national initiative, Attendance Works and will be used with subsequent national data collection through the Office of Civil Rights. For years, the issue of chronic absenteeism was not widely understood as most states, districts and schools were not measuring it. Instead, many schools use the metric of “Average Daily Attendance” which can greatly mask the number of students who are chronically absent. For example, a school may have a daily attendance rate of 92 percent or higher while one in four students at the school is chronically absent.
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