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.

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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?

  • Policies and practices that focus on tracking and using actionable, responsive data and engaging families and communities, and
  • Evidence-based and evidence-informed programs that foster a positive and engaging school climate.

NCECF’s AttendaNCe Counts publications consider the current NC state, district and school-level policies and practices around regular school attendance and make recommendations for action.

Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Design Teams co-created the Pathways Action Framework, focusing in on three areas that directly impact third grade reading proficiency:

  • Social-emotional health
  • High quality birth through age eight care and education
  • Regular school attendance

Read the Pathways Action Framework here.

Nine steps that states should take according to Attendance Works.

Research-based based policies, practices and programs that schools, districts and states can take to improve attendance.

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More About Regular School Attendance