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Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

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Getting Started with Attendance

What is Chronic Absence?
A student who misses 10% or more of their school days for any reason, excused, unexcused or for suspensions, is considered chronically absent.

How does OSPI calculate and report Chronic Absence?
Chronic absence is now reported as its inverse, or opposite: Regular Attenders. Regular Attendance is when a student attends school 90% or more of their school days.


Attendance System Improvement Guide:
This guide is designed to help schools and districts:

  • Understand and interpret attendance data
  • Engage in a collaborative self-assessment of your school or district’s strengths and challenges regarding Regular Attendance
  • Develop concrete plans to improve Regular Attendance in your school or district

Understanding Why Students Are Absent
Attendance is a strong indicator for understanding what challenges may exist in the school environment, the student’s family, or the community. Many factors contribute to why students are not attending.

Why Are Students Absent graph - see pdf file

Who is Chronically Absent? Starting with the Right Data
One of the biggest predictors of a student’s attendance is their prior attendance. You can begin by pulling reports from your student information system that tell you:

  1. who was chronically absent last year
  2. who is on track to be chronically absent this year
  3. your chronic absence rate
  4. your at-risk attendance rate
  5. your regular attendance rate?
  6. how do these differ when you look at specific student groups
  7. how does it differ across grades, schools, classrooms?

If you need assistance to locate this data, please contact your district CEDARS administrator, your educational service district data center, or your system vendor for reports.

District and School Attendance Tracking Tools
Attendance Works offers excel tools that will easily produce reports that display the data listed above, by simply importing your student-level data.

Root Cause Analysis – Digging deeper
How do you know why students are absent in your school or district? These tools can help your understanding.

For information about the Washington Assessment of Risks and Needs of Students (WARNS).

Assessment Tools
Use these tools to help assess your school or district’s efforts and systems to support attendance.

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