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ERIC Number: ED544564
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Chronic Early Absence. The Progress of Education Reform. Volume 11, Number 1
Education Commission of the States (NJ1)
At the core of school improvement and education reform is an assumption so widely understood that it is rarely invoked: students have to be present and engaged in order to learn. That is why the discovery that thousands of our youngest students are academically at-risk--because of extended absences when they first embark upon their school careers--is as remarkable as it is consequential. Growing evidence indicates that chronic absence (missing 10% or more of a school year, nearly one month) is a hidden or underidentified problem. And, it can start in the early elementary years--a time when it is most critical for children to be in school so they can build the necessary foundational academic and social skills needed for later school success. While chronic absence is not a problem everywhere, it can reach surprisingly high levels even in the early grades. Nationwide, nearly 10% of kindergartners and 1st graders are chronically absent. In some communities, chronic early absence can affect 25% of all children in kindergarten through 3rd grade across an entire district. Within particular schools in the same district, chronic early absence can range from less than 1% to more than 50%. States, districts and schools are now being offered unprecedented opportunities to develop programs that will improve student performance and turn around underperforming schools. An understanding of how reducing chronic early absence helps those efforts will go a long way to assure that innovative school improvement policies and practices will be successful in the long run. This issue of "The Progress of Education Reform" looks at two recent research studies on the issue of chronic early absence and addresses the following: (1) What are the impacts of chronic early absence? (2) Why has it been overlooked? (3) What contributes to chronic early absence? and (4) What can be done to reduce chronic absence in the early grades? (Contains 2 figures.)
Education Commission of the States. ECS Distribution Center, 700 Broadway Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203-3460. Tel: 303-299-3692; Fax: 303-296-8332; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: GE Foundation
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States
Identifiers - Location: Maryland
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey