Attending school regularly is a vital factor in school success for both students and teachers. Excessive school absenteeism is often linked to poor school academic achievement, so school attendance by both teachers and students plays an integral role in the success and educational advancement levels of any academic institution and all students enrolled.
Limited Educational Instruction
It is crucial to the success of any school to employ dedicated teachers who are physically present to administer quality education to each student. Chronic absence by the teaching staff can drastically hinder the learning environment and academic achievement of students when instructors are not routinely present to teach them.
When teachers are absent, schools must rely on substitute teachers to provide instruction for the students. However, many substitute teachers may not be qualified to provide quality educational instruction.
Substitute teachers are not always required to possess a teaching certification, and in some school districts they are able to teach with only a high school GED. The loss of quality instructional time for students can result in unlearned academic skills and objectives, therefore, student attendance and absenteeism rates is is directly related to students' standardized test scores.
Poor Academic Progress
Successful schools cannot survive without physically present students. According to the u.s. department of education and "Excessive Absences Intervention" research study by author Linda L. Williams, excessive unexcused absences by students may result in unlearned course material from fewer hours of instruction, and a disruption of class instruction for teachers who have to administer remediation for the absent student when he returns to school.
Chronically absent students may additionally result in poor academic achievement and suspensions because students are not receiving instruction on a consecutive basis. This shows that student success and student achievement is directly correlated to amount of student absences. This problem also causes low standardized test scores because absent students are not present to learn key concepts and skills that are assessed on standardized exams. This could lead to serious learning disabilities.
Excessive student absenteeism, or truancy, can lead to an increasing disinterest in school and academics in general. According to author Jason A. Schoeneberger’s "Longitudinal Attendance Patterns" study, excessive absenteeism increases the chances of a student eventually dropping out of school due to poor academic performance, which can lead to long term consequences for these students, such as lower average incomes, higher incidences of unemployment, and a higher likelihood of incarceration.
Schoeneberger asserts that students who drop out of school face a higher risk of poverty because of their inability to secure quality paying employment due to their lack of education and resources.
Dropouts who lack education and resources are more likely to commit criminal activity leading to incarceration, especially those who practice truancy at increasingly early grade levels such as elementary school and middle school. That’s why its so important for students not to miss school.
Decreased School Budget
The prevalence of chronic absenteeism has many negative impacts and also places an extreme strain on the school's budget, and allocated finances in each school district. Average daily attendance, or ADA, is the average attendance rate of students in a school year. States utilize a school district's ADA to determine the allocated funding it will receive. Schools may encounter a decrease in funding due to a loss of full-time students.
This limited budget due to excessive absences causes a lack of educational resources and materials for the all the students in the school. According to "USA Today," about one in three teachers misses more than 10 days of school each year in the public school system. Providing substitutes for all of these absent teachers costs schools, cumulatively, at least $4 billion a year. "USA Today" further reported that in some states nearly 50 percent of the teachers miss more than 10 days of school in a typical 180-day school year.
Overall, school attendance is an integral part for both teachers and students to facilitate academic achievement in our nation’s schools. When it comes time for high school students to graduate, the amount of time they spent in and out of school everyday directly relates to things like GPA.
One sub-group of students who especially need to attend school regularly are english language learners. Students who’s first language isn’t english need that constant practice of being in the classroom, especially if they aren’t practicing the language at home. Certain ethnicities and demographics of students are particularly at risk such as low-income and minorities because without being constantly in school, its easier for them to fall prey to issues such as dropping out.
While it may be important to take the occasional mental health day, we have to remember how important school is and the more students and teachers are absent, the more the level of education decreases.
Be aware of your school's attendance policy
- Valdosta State University: Applying Interventions to Prevent or Reduce Excessive Absences in a High School Setting
- USA Today: Teacher Absenteeism Puts Students at a Loss
- Journal of Educational Research: Evidence of Student Attendance as an Independent Variable in Education Production Functions
- Virginia Tech Digital Library and Archives: The Impact of Student Attendance, Socio-Economic Status and Mobility on Student Achievement of Third Grade Students in Title I Schools
Malikah Walters is an English professor, and has been instructing English and education courses at the college level since 2008. In addition to holding a master's degree in education from Towson University, Walters is also a certified master life coach and is the founder and owner of Spiritual Counseling and Life Coaching LLC., an international mental health counseling company.