Why Student Attendance is important: Reasons – Strategies & Tips

The student’s attendance is a precursor to his career outcome. That’s a discipline inculcated for future outcomes. Absence from the school results in poor performance of the students and upcoming success. In fact it is found in the research that regular attendance and assignment completion is an important factor to success.Studies have linked poor attendance at an early age, high school dropouts with serious repercussions in later years, were found to have a history of negative behaviors. In a nutshell, regular attendance leads to further learning opportunities and better job prospects. As well as this, going to school helps to develop: Friendships, Social skills, Team values, Life skills, Cultural awareness, Career pathways.There are various studies, surveys been done on the said topic and strategies are suggested. This blogs compiles maximum of these information.Attendance is a Behavioral benchmarks and it indicate students’ chances of completing college education and being ready for careers. According to AITSL(Australia) , ‘Attendance Matters’ there are two ways to measure attendance:

  • Student attendance rates: the number of actual full-time equivalent student-days attended by full-time students in Years 1 to 10 as a percentage of the total number of possible student-days.
  • Student attendance levels: the proportion of full-time students in Years 1-10 whose attendance rate is greater than or equal to 90 percent in semester 1 of a school year (ACARA, 2015b). Individual factors Individual factors that influence student absenteeism relate to student’s attitudes and motivations. The individual factors that are most likely to predict a student’s non-attendance include:
  • Academic self-concept and self-esteem – negative beliefs about academic abilities and feeling academically inadequate
  • Not feeling safe at school – being the victim of bullying
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Lack of connectedness to school and peers – lack of ‘belonging’
  • Negative attitudes towards teachers
  • Lack of motivation or goals
  • Disliking school, boredom, pursuit of other activities outside school.

In her article Jennifer Railsback ‘Increasing Student Attendance: Strategies From Research And Practice’ (Corville-Smith et al. ) found six variables that were statistically significant predictors for distinguishing absentee high school students from regularly attending students:

  • Students’ school perceptions: Absenteesare less likely to perceive school favorably
  • Perception of parental discipline: Absentees perceive discipline as lax or inconsistent
  • Parents’ control: Absentees believe parents are attempting to exert more control over them
  • Students’ academic self-concept: Absentees feel inferior academically
  • Perceived family conflict: Absentees experience family conflict
  • Social competence in class: Absentees are less likely to feel socially competent in class

Perceived family conflictImage: PixabayJeffreyD. Cassell (2007), in his Ph.D. thesis ‘Relationships Between Student Attendance and Test Scores on the Virginia Standards of Learning Tests,’  cites Atkinson (2005) who proposed that there is a critical link between effective educational strategies and student attendance rates. Klem and Connell (2004) documented the link between teacher support and student engagement and achievement. Educators must recognize the importance of teacher efficacy in improving student attendance and student achievement. Jeffrey D. Cassell (2007), suggests that improving student attendance could result in improved student achievement on standardized tests. He added Educators should develop and implement programs that encourage, support, and recognize improved and sustained student attendance. In addition to incentive programs that reward good attendance, schools may implement deterrent programs with consequences for poor attendance. Shay M. Daily, Megan L. Smith, Christa L. Lilly, and Danielle M. Davidov’s findings suggest students with more absences tend to perform less well academically. Missing a substantial amount of school days for any reason may hinder students’ academic success, but “skipping” may require added attention. Improving school climate and student satisfaction with school may contribute to better attendance and grades. Fredericton ( ) cites factors that make regular class attendance improve grades, are:

  • In general, regular class attendance has the strongest positive correlation with course grade, stronger than motivation, high school GPA and conscientiousness.
  • Class attendance is especially important in courses with technical and practical subject matter.
  • Many students are able to learn theoretical and conceptual content by other means than in class.
  • Classes that expose students to additional information they do not get from other sources (textbook, online, from other students) are classes that improve student performance if attended regularly (Credé et al., 286).
  • Having lecture videos available online can be a substitute for attendance in class for lectures that are mostly information presentation.
  • Choosing to miss class has a higher impact on grades than missing a class due to circumstances beyond a student’s control.
  • First generation university students are at greater risk of skipping classes and thus not performing as well as they could.
  • Hoff manand Lerche speculate from their research that class attendance will improve student performance when the class time is interactive, and students are encouraged to discuss and develop their own solutions (p. 20).
  • Class attendance is likely influenced by institutional attendance norms, perceived difficulty of the course, characteristics of the instructor (level of expertise, effectiveness as a teacher), and availability of lecture content online (Credé et al. 288).  

California Deptt of EducationImage: PixabayTo help make sure child has good attendance, Fonda-Fultonville Central School have suggestions for parents (Ref: Attendance Works):

  • Keep an attendance chart at home. At the end of the week, reward your child for attending school every day. Rewards could include a visit to the park, extra video game time or a special treat.
  • Make sure your child is in bed by a certain time each night and the alarm clock is set.
  • Don’t let children stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of astomach-ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make him/her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • If your child has a cold but no fever (less than 100 degrees), send him/her to school anyway. If you don’t have a thermometer, purchase or borrow one.
  • Identify a relative, friend or neighbor who can take your child to school if you can’t or if he/she misses the bus.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.

School Attendance Improvement Strategies( California Deptt of Education)Selected school attendance practices identified as having a positive effect in encouraging students to regularly attend school.The following practices have been identified as strategies and activities that have a positive effect in encouraging students to regularly attend school.

  • Raise awareness of school personnel, parents, guardians, caregivers, community partners, and local businesses of the effects of chronic absence and truancy. This is especially important during Attendance Awareness Month each September.
  • Identify and respond to grade level and pupil subgroup patterns of chronic absence and truancy.
  • Identify and address factors contributing to chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy, including suspension and expulsion.
  • Ensure that pupils with attendance problems are identified as early as possible to provide appropriate support services and interventions.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies implemented to reduce chronic absenteeism   rates.
  • Monitor unexcused absences of more than 30 minutes in middle schools and high schools, and ensure parents, guardians, or caregivers are notified when their children become classified as “truants.
  • After parents or guardians have been notified that their children are classified a struants and after a conscientious effort has been made to hold a conference with the parents and pupils, make sure the parents, guardians, or caregivers are notified that their children are now deemed habitual truants (EC Section48262).
  • Inform parents, guardians, and caregivers of the school district’s method of verification of absences due to illness.
  • Telephone or email parents, guardians, and caregivers in the evening to verify absences.
  • Use bilingual aides to contact parents, guardians, or caregivers with limited English-speaking ability and send out school attendance notification emails or letters in the language appropriate to the family.
  • Make home visits concerning student absences if parents, guardians, and caregivers cannot be reached by email, text, or telephone.
  • Refer to students with frequent absences to a school nurse, school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or other pupil support personnel for case management and counseling.
  • Hold a drawing for special prizes for individual students or classes that show improved attendance.
  • Send commendation letters to students and parents, guardians, or caregivers for improved school attendance and perfect attendance.
  • Seek small or large financial incentives from the parent association to be awarded to the classroom with the best attendance record; allow teachers to spend financial rewards for any purpose selected by the class members of the teacher.
  • Refer pupils with persistent tardiness or attendance problems to a conference with school personnel and the pupil’s parents, guardians, or caregivers.
  • Initiate make-up classes on one day of a weekend for pupils who miss classes during the regular school year.
  • Initiate a “cross-age helper” or “buddy” system in which older students with good attendance are permitted to assist younger students on a weekly basis.
  • Personalize relationships between children and attendance office personnel; ask office a ides, clerks, or secretaries to make individual contact with chronic absentees on a daily basis.
  • Establish homeroom periods in secondary schools, with students remaining with the same teacher all four years of high school; request that homeroom teachers monitor their student’s attendance and discuss truancy or chronic absenteeism with parents, guardians, or caregivers.
  • Emphasize the importance of regular school attendance to students with long-term, non-contagious diseases that tend to keep students at home (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and sickle-cell anemia); encourage and support these students at school. Ensure that these students are allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during excused absences.
  • If a student has a temporary disability that makes attendance impossible or inadvisable, inform parents, guardians, or caregivers about the option of individual instruction provided by the school district education officer.
  • Display attendance graphs in prominent locations to show current attendance goals and comparisons between past and present school year attendance.
  • Provide schools with a pro-rata share of the increased Average Daily Attendance funds generated by their attendance improvement efforts.
  • Set high goals in the Management Objectives for reducing the chronic absenteeism rates of student populations or grade levels with a history of high chronic absenteeism.
  • Assess chronic absenteeism rates during the transitions from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school.
  • Identify the specific school attendance barriers faced by children in poverty, foster youth, homeless youth, and any other significant student population with high chronic absenteeism rates.
  • Address the problem of chronic absenteeism, even when the absences have been excused.

California Deptt of EducationImage: PixabayChallenges: Authors Martin Mills, Angelique Howell, Deborah Lynch, and John Dungan in their article‘ Approaches to improving school attendance: Insights from Australian principals’ proposed Strategies to improve attendance. The principal select dated a range of strategies that they had developed within their school communities to improve attendance. The monitoring of student attendance data was seen as essential by most principals. Principals typically monitored the data daily; students were regularly informed of their own data, usually on a weekly basis, often during assembly and in form classes at regular intervals, for example, every five weeks, at the end of term, the end of each semester and/or the end of the year. ‘At risk’ students were identified early for intervention. Messages about attendance were explicitly and regularly conveyed to students. The importance of setting and communicating high expectations was commonly discussed by the principals in the survey interviews. These expectations are related to attendance as well as behavior and academic achievement. It was very apparent in these schools that everybody – teachers, students, and parents- was aware of the importance of attendance. The  Factors that Contribute to Effective Attendance Policies according to AITSL are: Recommendations are compiled from primarily anecdotal information from practitioners◆ Attendance policies must be publicized and understood by all staff and students. There must be a clear understanding of the difference between excused and unexcused absences.◆ Policies should be aligned with the district’s policies and goals.◆ The purpose should be to change behavior, not to punish. Reconsider the use of zero tolerance policies such as suspensions for truancy and instead consider less severe consequences such as community service or in-school detentions(Skiba & Knesting, 2001).◆ There must be effective reporting, recording, and monitoring. Investigate the various computerized attendance tracking systems currently available.◆ Policies must include full family involvement, with parent notification and frequent home-school contact.◆If a reward or incentive program is to be used, this should be clearly specified in the policy.◆ Develop two-way contracts among students, administrators, teachers, and families that delineate standards of performance for the student, services the school will provide, or changes the school will make.CONCLUSION- Set positive attendance habits earlyThe importance of early learning experiences on academic and social achievement, that school attendance should be prioritised in the formative years inculcating discipline. A strong school policy to be developed where student’s expectation are fulfilled all through the formative years.Schools accomplishing this by praising student attendance, rewarding student punctuality, and insisting on parental explanation of absences which may also set up a a good example to reduce the absenteeism in later years.For schools and teachers, attendance policies and procedures require the clear understanding to adapt to the needs of individual students. It encourages the early adoption of positive attendance habits.For families and students, the benefits of expecting positive attendance habits early are two-fold; it assists students to understand the importance and value of schooling from the formative years, and ensures families appreciate the importance of children going to school. The students showing good understanding in high schools and colleges is a reflection of attendance in the formative years.

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