By Kevin Kelly
Chronic absenteeism, usually defined as missing 10 percent or more of the days in a school year, is a widespread challenge that can lead to long-term problems. Data from the Office of Civil Rights suggest that 51 percent of Pennsylvania schools have 10 percent or more of their students chronically absent. Students who are chronically absent miss out on learning and are more prone to dropping out than their peers who attend school regularly.
The School Support and Improvement Research Alliance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory (REL MA) recently held a workshop, developed in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), to provide information to educators about chronic absenteeism: what it is, how to measure it, and what research says about addressing it. The workshop met an important informational need in Pennsylvania, as the state will use chronic absenteeism as a measure of school quality and student success as a part of its approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan.