A Student Attendance Myth.

I will admit that every time I bring up the attendance issue in this email, I have the strong sense that I am “preaching to the choir.” I am guessing that the parents who take the time to read these messages, are also the parents of students who attend school consistently. That being said, however, we do want to continue to communicate with parents, and partner with parents in every way possible, to improve student attendance. This is critical in our view because learning and academic achievement are highly tied to consistent attendance.  

 
Our school psychologist, Bryce DeRoos, recently went to a conference and specifically took time to attend a session on student attendance. He shared with us a few myths about attendance, and the data that clearly shows these myths are inaccurate. I am sharing the one below that most directly applies to high school students.   
 
Myths about Student Attendance (McGiboney, 2011)
 
 Myth #1– Missing 5-10 days of school each year is normal and doesn’t matter that much. 
  • Attendance data indicates that missing more than five days of school each year, regardless of the cause, impacts student academic performance and starts shaping attitudes about school. The resulting negative attitudes about school can impact future attendance as well as motivation in school. The amount of school we allow our children to miss communicates to them about the importance of school. It also communicates to our children our view of how attendance is connected with success both in school (our expectations for our students attendance) and in our work (with our own example).
  • From the 6th grade through the 9th grade, student attendance is a better predictor of dropping out than standardized test scores.
  • Excused absences and unexcused absences have similar impact on student academic performance.
I would also like to wish everyone a very enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday.