School absence is a much more common and burning problem than we thought. Even schools with a 95 percent average rate of daily attendance often have poor individual attendance rates, with 25 percent of their students falling into the chronic absence category.
It is assumed that students, who missed 10 percent of the school year, which amounts to roughly 18 school days, fall into the chronic absence category. And it means bad news not only for schools, but also for kids and their parents, as research studies show that poor attendance rates can affect the performance of all students in the class.
Why is school absence bad for kids
Parents often think that it does not matter whether their kids attend kindergarten or elementary school regularly or not, but studies show otherwise. Students with chronic kindergarten absence are at more risk of poor academic performance in 1st grade.
Poor attendance in 6th grade can be a signal that student is at higher risk of dropping out. By 9th grade missing 20 percent or more of the school year is a clear indicator of dropping out, more accurate than test scores! This shows that students with poor attendance rates are performing worse than their peers and as a result, they are at a higher risk of dropping out of school.
Moreover, students, who do not attend classes regularly are also affecting other children in class. Students, who miss math classes often fail to understand the new material and teachers have to revise previously introduced concepts in order to make sure that everyone understands it. This can significantly slow down the learning process and result in less time spent on teaching new things and more on repeating already covered concepts.
What schools, teachers and parents can do to solve the problem?
Chronic absence is a problem, which affects everyone, not only those students, who regularly miss classes. It can lead to low performance rates of everyone in the class and affect school’s reputation. Therefore, schools, teachers and parents should take all necessary steps to help solve this problem.
For starters, you need to know what is causing the problem. Some kids do not want to go to school, because they feel anxious, other children might have a hard time coping with some difficult math concepts and are afraid of failing. It is important to know whether parents of students, who miss out classes regularly are aware of the problem.
If not, they should not only be informed about the problem and its consequences, but also provided with solutions and offered help. Schools can do a lot to solve the problem, for example, they can, which is known for its simple explanations of complex math problems.
The implementation of Singapore math curriculum often leads to better math performance also among those students, who struggle with the traditional teaching methods. Schools can also organize afterschool classes for allstudents, introduce special programs for kids with learning difficulties or arrange more flexible schedules for teen mothers.