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Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data
NCES 2009-804
February 2009

Category 2: Not Attending/Absent

Definition of Not Attending/Absent:
A student is "absent" if he or she is not physically present on school grounds and is not participating in instruction or instruction-related activities at an approved off-grounds location.

Category 2 includes students who are "not attending" or "absent." A student is absent if he or she is not physically present on school grounds and is not participating in instruction or instruction-related activities at an approved off-grounds location. This taxonomy does not determine whether or not these absences are "excused." States and districts are responsible for making these determinations.

CATEGORY 2A:     Absent–Noninstructional activity recognized by state or school
The student is out of school and involved in a noninstructional activity recognized by the school or state. Examples include such civic activities as involvement with the National Guard, service as a legislative page, jury duty, or participation on an election board. Note that "recognized activities" are not necessarily considered "excused" absences.
CATEGORY 2B: Absent–Religious observation
The student is out of school observing a religious holiday or participating in religious instruction.
CATEGORY 2C: Absent–Illness, injury, health treatment, or examination
The student is out of school because of personal physical or mental illness or injury, including health-related appointments.
CATEGORY 2D: Absent–Family emergency or bereavement
The student is out of school for unexpected family reasons. Examples include lack of child care for a parenting student, care for a sick relative, and bereavement for a family member.
CATEGORY 2E: Absent–Disciplinary action, not receiving instruction
The student has been removed from his or her regular instructional setting for disciplinary reasons and is not receiving instruction. This may include either in-school or out-of-school suspension if instructional services are not provided. It does not include expulsion since expelled students are not enrolled in school.
CATEGORY 2F: Absent–Legal or judicial requirement
The student is out of school due to a legal obligation to attend judicial proceedings, required appointments, or trial or hearing dates. Or, the student is serving time in jail or is in the custody of the court and is not receiving instruction.
CATEGORY 2G: Absent–Family activity
The student is out of school because of a family vacation or other activity. This also includes family time related to a parent being deployed to, or returning from, military duty.
CATEGORY 2H: Absent–Student employment
The student is out of school for employment purposes. This does not include work-study or school-related employment.
CATEGORY 2I: Absent–Transportation not available
The student is not in school because transportation is not available. For example, roads have been closed due to flooding.
CATEGORY 2J: Absent–Student is skipping school
The student is willfully not attending school without parent or school approval.
CATEGORY 2K: Absent–Situation unknown
The student is not present and the reason for the absence is not known.

"Situation unknown" is a default category to be used only
until the correct attendance category is determined.

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