When it comes to achieving at school, the old Woody Allen quote applies: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

September is Attendance Awareness Month, and for good reason. As the school year starts, habits get set; and the habit of showing up to school – every day and on time – is critical for student success. A growing body of research shows students with higher absenteeism rates have lower scores on national standardized tests. This is true for every grade level and across racial and geographical lines.

Students who miss two to four days in September are five times more likely to be chronically absent than students who are absent fewer than 2 days. And for those missing four or more days in September, that likelihood jumps to 16 times.

The problem is considerable. Did you know:

  • An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students are chronically absent; which means they miss 10 percent or about 18 days of school.
  • Only 17% of students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade read proficiently by 3rd
  • By 6thgrade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, good attendance is a stronger predictor that a student will graduate than test scores.

Resources to help parents:

Resources for educators: