August 2, 2012
Student attendance serves as an effective predictor of future academic achievement as well as of high school graduation. An analysis of Indiana attendance data indicates a direct link between absenteeism and school achievement, with chronically absent students scoring lower on achievement tests and dropping out of high school at higher rates than peers with better attendance. This Education Policy Brief summarizes the research and data analysis completed by CEEP on Indiana's student attendance and absenteeism data. The study was initiated by The Indiana Partnerships Center and conducted by CEEP with funding from USA Funds and State Farm. Additional partners in the study are the Marion County Commission on Youth, Net Literacy, and Attendance Works. The intended use of the study is to inform educators, families, community partners, and policymakers about the status of attendance in Indiana and the degree to which poor attendance impacts student achievement and attainment. Findings indicate that although the majority of schools report good average daily attendance, chronic absenteeism occurs in schools in all areas of Indiana. This brief quantifies the prevalence of chronic absenteeism in Indiana and describes the impact of chronic absenteeism on achievement and graduation at the student, school, and locality level. Additionally, best practices for improving attendance are discussed, and examples of successful interventions provided. This brief concludes with a set of recommendations for education leaders and policymakers to consider that will ensure sufficient attention, reporting, and action to reduce chronic absenteeism in Indiana and help improve academic outcomes for thousands of Hoosier students.