Last year, one in ten kids in public schools missed more than 15 days of school. A state study shows how important being in class is to student achievement.
The State Department of Education tracked the performance and attendance of students from 2007 to 2011.
It found that after missing just five days of school, students’ chances of passing standardized tests and getting a diploma slide significantly no matter if the absence is excused or unexcused.
"Most of the discussion prior to this has been around truancy… students who miss a lot of school 20 to 30 days," says the state’s associate superintendent Garry McGibboney. "We’re not just talking about truancy because when they miss beyond five days it has a significant impact on academic achievement."
McGibboney says graduation rates drop 26 percent for ninth graders with more than five absences.
He hopes schools stress attendance to parents and students, because he says it’s a way to improve education that doesn’t cost money. He also says the data could have schools thinking differently about out of school suspension policies.