The Maine Department of Education (Department) has collected chronic absenteeism for the 2016/17 school year as a non-academic indicator of school success. Absenteeism for any reason, excused or unexcused, has potential negative consequences on student learning and it is important for schools, districts, and the Department to have this broader measure of student attendance so that we can measure student success. Previously, the Department collected Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and truancy data. ADA measures the average number of students who attend school on any given day. Truancy is a measure of unexcused absences.
Research shows a statistically strong link between school attendance, the development of academic skills, and the likelihood of high school graduation. Research also shows that when a large percentage of students are chronically absent, even the progress their peers, who have better attendance, may suffer.
Below are some additional facts to help answer questions about the shift in chronic absenteeism data collection:
Why is this important?
Chronic absenteeism is a new indicator in Maine’s Accountability system which was designed as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Current research shows chronic absenteeism has a clear relationship to negative consequences for students, including lower achievement, disengagement from school, course failure, and increased risk of dropping out.
How is chronic absenteeism defined?
Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days for any reason. In Maine, this equates to missing 10% of school days or 18 days (based upon 175 school days). As part of Maine’s accountability system, student information will be compiled into an overall school measure indicating the percentage of students at the school who have missed 10% or more of school days. For further information about how chronic absenteeism data is collected visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/student/attendance.html.
Where can I find the data?
The 2016/17 chronic absenteeism data is available here. The percentage of Maine students missing 10% or more school days is higher than anticipated as this is the first year school districts have reported this data to the State.
What can schools and districts expect now?
The Department is already working to develop a system of supports available to newly identified Tier II and Tier III schools, with resources to address challenges of attendance. These supports are part of the differentiated tiered model of support under the new ESSA Accountability model with identifications being made in January 2019.
Chronic absenteeism data will be collected annually through the Maine Department of Education’s Synergy Student Information System at the end of the academic year going forward.
The Department will continue collecting truancy data, as required by Maine statute.
For further information about the Department’s ESSA Accountability Model and needed supports, contact Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov or (207) 624-6707.