Research into school attendance
Read the research on student attendance and reduce the risk of absenteeism and truancy by putting strategies and approaches into practice.
Research on student attendance
Research shows that poor school attendance is associated with:
- lower academic achievement including literacy and numeracy
- early school leaving
- leaving school with fewer qualifications
- reduced opportunities for students to learn and access educational resources, further limiting achievement
- further absenteeism in higher year levels
- increased alcohol, tobacco, and substance use in adolescents.
Queensland State School Attendance Rate (Semester 1, 2012) by NAPLAN 2012 Scale Score Year 7
This graph compares the Queensland state school attendance rate for Semester 1 2012 with Year 7 NAPLAN 2012 scores for reading and numeracy. The graph shows that as attendance rates decrease, so does the NAPLAN scores for reading and numeracy. This trend between attendance rate and achievement level is consistent at every year level and subject.
Research into strategies for improving student attendance
Strategies to increase student attendance include:
- connective approaches that offer services or support for students and their families and focus on improving relationships between the school, student, and family
- incentive approaches that reward students or their families for good or improved attendance
- sanction-based approaches that penalise students and/or their parents for absenteeism.
- increasing parental involvement through parental participation in classroom activities
- referring families experiencing difficulties to community services to receive support
- nominating school staff to track students' attendance and communicate with parents about absences
- school-based (individual/group) therapy interventions
- assisting students to improve self-esteem, cope with critical life situations, and deal with family or peer conflict, anxiety and depression
- introducing incentives for students for full term/year attendance or improved attendance, such as certificates or prizes
- enforcing attendance laws through fines for parents
- using technology to monitor student attendance and alert parents if a student is absent (e.g. SMS or email to parents).
Research into success of strategies
There is little research into the effectiveness of these strategies on improving student attendance. Schools that have successfully improved attendance tend to use of a range of strategies across the three categories and tailored these to suit the needs of the local community. Their approaches have included:
- allocating school staff to work with students and families
- focussing on administrative processes to make monitoring student attendance easier for all school staff
- purchasing IT systems to assist with monitoring and alerting parents
- involving students in monitoring their own attendance rate
- rewarding students for good or improved attendance through competitions and shopping vouchers
- focusing on teaching processes and support to improve student engagement with school.
Ideas and practical strategies for improving attendance
Performance Insights: School Attendance 804K
Statistics on student attendance
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This page was last reviewed on 04 Aug 2014