Consistent school attendance in the early grades improves children’s learning and achievement.

Chronic absenteeism is an early predictor of student performance. As early as prekindergarten, children who are chronically absent (miss 10 percent of the academic year for any reason) are:

  • less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade,
  • more likely to be retained, and
  • less likely to develop the social skills needed to persist in school.

Attendance is actionable. Schools and districts across the country have reduced chronic absence by:

  • focusing on recognizing good and improved attendance,
  • engaging students and families,
  • monitoring attendance data and practice,
  • providing personalized early outreach as needed, and
  • developing systemic responses to attendance barriers.



Chronic Absence by Local Education Agency (LEA) for schools with K, 1st, 2nd and/or 3rd grade students. 2015-2016.


Find out the chronic absence rate at your child’s school, compare rates across NC school districts, or see how NC stacks up against other states, with this interactive chronic absence map from The Hamilton Project.

Read More About This Issue

of NC elementary schools have 10 to 19 percent of students chronically absent
of all NC young students are chronically absent
of young students are chronically absent in the NC school district with the highest percentage of absentees
states include chronic absence in their school accountability system (NC does not)

What Can We Do About It?

 What supports regular school attendance?

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