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

Chapter 4: Acting on the Data

Real students improved their attendance behaviors
and educational opportunities as a result of educators acting on
attendance data, working with families, and increasing the
effectiveness of attendance intervention efforts...

Better student attendance starts with interventions that are based on detailed attendance data.

Collecting detailed attendance data as suggested by the taxonomy in chapter 2 can help states, districts, and schools identify patterns in the frequency of student absences and reasons why students are missing school. Once education leaders understand how student absences are affecting their community, they are in a position to make the case for changes that will improve student attendance. This chapter presents examples of state, district, and school actions that can serve as models for education organizations across the country hoping to improve attendance data and solve attendance problems.

A variety of approaches can be used to help educators understand the scope of a school's or district's attendance problems. Qualitative analyses include taking a closer look at local attendance policies to determine whether they support optimal student attendance. Quantitative analyses include investigating whether student attendance data correlate with student demographic groups, academic performance, grade levels, retention patterns, school completion, and graduation.