Families » Student Attendance

Student Attendance

Attendance Matters

Research shows that students who are chronically absent - missing about 19 or more in a school year - are less likely to graduate from high school. This includes students who miss just two days a month. In addition, national testing data shows that students with more absences score lower on standardized tests, no matter their age, demographic group, or state or city.

Going to school every day is the first step for student success.

Excellent attendance is a crucial requirement for doing well in school--and life! Common sense indicates that a student may be absent for illness, emergencies, or for religious observance, but the goal is for every student to be in school every day. 

A student who has 90% attendance is missing one month of instruction. A student with less than 90% attendance is considered chronically absent.  

  • Attendance is a required, legal record of whether a student was in school or not.
  • Absences may be excused--but are not eliminated--for religious observance, illness, or other reasons defined at each school.
  • Attendance can be part of academic plans and grading policy but cannot be a sole factor in determining grades or promotion.
  • The school must have a practical mechanism to notify parents when students are absent or late.
  • The school must examine attendance, lateness, and early departure data and develop effective intervention strategies to improve school attendance.
  • Families are advised to schedule trips and vacations when school is not in session to minimize interruption in schoolwork that may impact academic progress.

Every absence counts. Excused absences are still absences.

A school can excuse absences when a student is not in school for religious, medical, or emergency reasons. An excused absence is still part of the student’s record.  Ask the school for its policies on absences, late arrivals, and early dismissal, which ones are considered "excused," and what to do if your student has to be late, miss school, or leave school early. Schools can correct mistakes in attendance records, but only in the current school year.