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2 Welcome Absenteeism and GPA: Exploring the top indicators of career and college readiness Symia Stigler Executive Director Attendance Institute

3 Attendance Institute The Attendance Institute, is a non-profit organization on a CRUSADE to position attendance as a top priority for school, families and communities. We know that improved performance, better grades, higher levels of engagement and achievement all begin with showing up to school.

4 Time for Action & Investment
It is time we use the extensive data and research available to inform action Time to invest: Proven and innovative strategies High quality services Staff, the right number of people at all levels

5 3 Key Areas of Focus Raise Awareness –Utilize the data and research available to raise attendance for all students as a top level school and community priority. Build Capacity –Help districts and communities find and fund the innovative services, technical assistance and dedicated staff required to increase attendance and ultimately increase graduation rates for all students. Replicate What Works– Solutions exist, we will continue to identify what works and replicate those efforts.

6 Changing Trends & Improving Outcomes
Main goal in our work is to identify and drive solutions that: Improve achievement and graduation rates for all students Eliminate attendance and learning barriers Improve attendance Close process gaps Increase the levels of authentic engagement with families Target supplemental services to the students most in need


8 Featured Speaker Elaine Allensworth, PhD
Lewis-Sebring Director –University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)

9 About CCSR The mission of CCSR is to build capacity for school reform by identifying what matters for student success and school improvement and creating the critical indicators to chart progress. A number of features distinguish UChicago CCSR from other, more typical research organizations: a focus on one place—Chicago engagement with a diverse group of stakeholders, a wide range of methods and multiple investigators, a commitment to sharing research findings with diverse publics. This is where Elaine will begin speaking.

10 Today’s Presentation Looking across all grades Pre-K to 12th grade
Preschool and the early grades Middle grades High School Why are students absent? Changes in attendance over time

11 Do Absences Matter? From preschool through high school, absenteeism has serious implications for students’ academic outcomes Students who are absent have: Lower test scores Lower likelihood of being on-track in high school Lower likelihood of graduating Lower course grades – taking them out of the running for college completion Elaine

12 Definitions Attendance rate = percentage of days present out of total days enrolled Absence rate = percentage of days absent out of total days enrolled Chronic absenteeism = missing 10% or more of days enrolled Absences include excused, unexcused, suspensions, and course cutting Elaine

13 Preschool and Early Grade Attendance

14 Previous findings on the prevalence of preschool absences
There are very high rates of absenteeism in preschool About 40 percent of CPS preschool students are chronically absent Attendance improves substantially in kindergarten and the early elementary years Across a range of background characteristics, race has the strongest association with chronic absenteeism 2nd bullet: True whether we look cross-sectionally by age, or follow the same students over time.

15 Students with lower preschool attendance have lower letter recognition scores on the K readiness tool Not controlling for prior knowledge 90% correct ** *** 68% correct *** Starting with the bivariate relationship – no controls Start with one subtest (talk through this). EA: Be careful how you talk about this so that it doesn’t sound causal. “Ss with higher absences have lower scores.” * Indicates that scores are significantly different from scores of students with absences between 0% and 3.3% at p<.05 level; **p<.01; ***p<.001

16 Students with lower preschool attendance have lower kindergarten readiness scores on all subtests Not controlling for prior knowledge 90% 88% 79% 75% 71% 68% Similar pattern across the subtests Socio-Emotional scale: Highest: child has appropriate behavior and work habits for his/her age Lowest: On average, these students are rated with a 2 for all items except “shows pleasure in accomplishment and active task mastery” TRANSITION: But, kids in each of these absence groups were different from each other – particularly in terms of their initial incoming scores. * Indicates that scores are significantly different from scores of students with absences between 0% and 3.3% at p<.05 level; **p<.01; ***p<.001

17 Kindergarten readiness scores are lower for students missing 10% or more, even after controlling for prior skills and background * ** * ** ** *** *** This is the net relationship between absences and outcomes – so, even after taking differences across groups into account (prior achievement, background characteristics), there is still a relationship between how much you go to school and your learning outcomes, for all subtests except pre-literacy. In other words, lower attendance IS significantly contributing to the lower scores of the students who are absent more (except pre-literacy). And for math/letter recognition, this begins to happen when students are absent 10% or more of time – confirming that 10% is the point where we start to see significant differences, and thus “chronic” is defined at the right place (10%) Analyses control for prior achievement, prior preschool, race, gender, neighborhood poverty/social status, special education status, ELL status, and program type. * Indicates that scores are significantly different from scores of students with absences between 0% and 3.3% at p<.05 level; **p<.01; ***p<.001

18 The relationship between absences and kindergarten readiness scores is stronger for students with lower prior skills than for those with higher prior skills So, children who enter preschool with lower prior knowledge are more likely to be absent more, and the more they are absent, the lower their scores are. Analyses control for prior preschool experience, race, gender, neighborhood poverty and social status, special education status, ELL status, and program type. Missing data points represent values with fewer than 30 students.

19 Is attendance in preschool related to outcomes later on?
Is attendance during preschool related to attendance in later grades? How is attendance during preschool related to learning outcomes in 2nd grade? How does being chronically absent over multiple years in the early grades (preschool through 2nd grade) relate to 2nd grade outcomes?

20 Not controlling for background characteristics
The more children are absent in preschool, the lower their 2nd grade scores Some risk So, let’s take a look at how preschool absences are related to later ones… However, the relationship between preschool absences and 2nd grade outcomes partially occurs through absences in K, 1st, and 2nd grade. Indicates that scores are significantly different from scores of students with absences between 0% and 3.3% at p<.05 level; **p<.01; ***p<.001 Not controlling for background characteristics

21 Roughly 1/3 of chronically absent 4-year-olds continue to be chronically absent in kindergarten

22 Students with more years of chronic absenteeism have lower 2nd grade scores
Some risk+ At risk+ *** This is a group that schools than focus on intervening with. We know that these are more disadvantaged students, but here is a specific indicator – whether they are chronically absent (particularly once they move from prek into K) that schools that use to focus their outreach efforts. * Indicates that scores are significantly different from scores of students who are never chronically absent, at p<.05 level; **p<.01; ***p<.001 + As outlined in the DIBLES 6th Edition Assessment and Scoring Guide (Good & Kaminksi, 2002). Some risk indicates the need for additional intervention. At risk indicates the need for substantial interventions.

23 Attendance matters, even for the youngest students
Attending school regularly is particularly beneficial for students coming into school with lower skills Being chronically absent is related to Lower academic and social-emotional outcomes at the end of preschool Lower attendance in future years For those who continue to be chronically absent, lower reading outcomes at end of 2nd grade

24 Looking Forward to High School and College: Middle-Grades Indicators of Readiness

25 What do we mean by being successful in high school and college?
Passing classes / Being On-Track Strongly tied to high school graduation Getting A’s and B’s Strongly tied to college enrollment, persistence and graduation from college

26 What are the best indicators of high school success?
Core GPA and attendance in eighth grade best predict whether students in high school pass and earn As or Bs Other information doesn’t tell us more about who will pass, get high grades or get good test scores, including… Race, gender, special education status, bilingual status, age Test and Subtest scores Grades in particular classes Yearly test score gains and test score growth over the middle grades Changes in grades over the middle grades Perseverance, study habits Discipline records, suspensions All of our analysis is based on one cohort of students who were first-time ninth graders in That’s about 22,000 students. We looked at all these other things… So when we looked at the array of eighth grade indicators we found that the best prediction of passing math in the ninth grade came from core GPA. In fact, core GPA was a better predictor of passing classes than math GPA. And we often think that students tend to have specific skills in a subject- “I’m really good at math. I’m really good at English.” So you might think that those subject specific GPA would be a better predictor of passing the same subject in ninth grade, but the fact is- it turns out that what really matters is students’ overall effort across all of their classes, which is captured by this indicator core GPA. We also found that ISAT- attendance and ISAT scores were also predictive of passing math in ninth grade, but these tended to be less predictive than core GPA. Core GPA was the most predictive.

27 Middle grade students with low grades or poor attendance are at high risk of being off-track in high school Students’ risk of being off-track in ninth grade by eighth-grade core GPA and attendance rate Many students are chronically absent year after year during the middle grades. Without intervention, they fall further and further behind. When they get to high school, they attend school even less, where, without receiving support, these students and their ninth grade teachers are set up for failure. If information on who is at risk is available early, high schools can use the summer and the first weeks of ninth grade to establish supportive relationships between students at high risk of failure and adults in the building. They can reach out to parents to establish trusting relationships, expectations, and supports before the student encounters difficulty. This can make it easier to reach out and provide support to improve attendance and coursework when students start to fall off-track. Note: Based on students entering ninth grade in the school year

28 Only students with the best grades and attendance in middle school are likely (but not guaranteed) to earn As and Bs in ninth grade. Students’ probability of earning As or Bs in ninth grade by core eighth-grade GPA and attendance rate Students who plan to go to college need to get the message that college requires very strong levels of effort in school, effort that produces A or B quality work even in the middle grades. Families should know the high standards that are needed to prepare for college so that they can work with teachers to make sure students are putting in the effort required to earn high grades. High schools not only need systems to keep their students on-track for graduation, but also systems to make sure high-achieving students meet their potential in high school. Systems could be set up to flag students who should be getting high grades but are not, so that school staff can find out why it is that students’ grades are declining in high school, and provide the supports they need to put them back on track for college success. Note: Based on students entering ninth grade in the school year

29 Source: Allensworth, Gwynne, Moore, & de la Torre (forthcoming)
Chronically absent middle grade students are very likely to be off-track for graduation in high school Elaine Remember to reference the section them… do absences matter? Relate to Philadelphia findings. Add lines for chronically absent. Same if go to 11th grade, but even fewer students on-track. Chronically absent Source: Allensworth, Gwynne, Moore, & de la Torre (forthcoming)

30 Small improvements in attendance are associated with large improvements in later outcomes
Predicted probability of being on-track in ninth grade for students with the most and least improvement in attendance (from fifth to eighth grade) among students with similar attendance, GPA and test scores in fifth grade Elaine-highlight that an attendance rate above 90% can still have detrimental affects on students who miss school.

31 High School Absenteeism

32 In high school Absences almost double from 8th to 9th grade
JULIA Some students are CA throughout elementary/middle, but a whole new group that is in high school Whole new crop of students become chronically absent at the high school level. Source: Recreated from Rosenkranz, de la Torre, Stevens, & Allensworth (forthcoming); updated with to data

33 In high school Absences account for failure and declining grades
What explains course failures in 9th grade? Demographic & economic background characteristics explain 7% of course failures Eighth-grade test scores explain an additional 5% (12% total) Student behaviors—absences and effort—explain an additional 61% (73% total) Students’ GPAs drop by half of a point from 8th to 9th grade, and this is almost completely explained by the increase in absences. Marisa Source: Allensworth & Easton (2007) and Rosenkranz, de la Torre, Stevens, & Allensworth (forthcoming)

34 In high school Absences hamper strong grades, even for high scoring students
23% high-scoring students are absent 20 days or more Ninth Grade Absences 32% students absent fewer than 5 days Source: CCSR analysis of CPS administrative data

35 In high school Absence is very predictive of dropout/graduation
Each week of absence per semester in 9th grade lowers the likelihood of graduating by 25 percentage points  Chronically absent Elaine – highlight that only 5-9 absences, well before chronically absent can dramatically drop the likelihood of graduating. Based on incoming freshman in Average ninth grade absences per semester Source: Allensworth & Easton (2007)

36 Why Are Students Absent?

37 Many factors are common from preschool through high school
Health and health care Family/background factors Classroom and school factors High school brings additional challenges Elaine Student factors like health Family/background factors like…

38 Source: Ehrlich, Gwynne, Pareja, & Allensworth (2013)
In preschool Health, logistics, and family-related reasons account for 80 percent of why children miss school Stacy Health is overwhelmingly the most common reason why preK children miss school. Over 60% due to medically-related reasons. The purple bars represent some other obstacles that families face (to be described more on next slide) Note: "Other" includes school phobia, lack of sleep, religious observances, weather, safety issues, and a general other category. Source: Ehrlich, Gwynne, Pareja, & Allensworth (2013)

39 Source: Ehrlich, Gwynne, Pareja, & Allensworth (2013)
In preschool Besides illness, there are many obstacles that families face Obstacles families face Trouble getting child to/from school Parent/sibling sick Family emergency Child care issues Some family circumstances can make managing these obstacles more difficult Single parenthood, poor parental health, using public transportation to school, living in poverty Stacy Source: Ehrlich, Gwynne, Pareja, & Allensworth (2013)

40 Source: CCSR analysis of 2007 student survey data
In middle school and high school, illness is the primary reason for absences; other reasons become more common in high school david Source: CCSR analysis of 2007 student survey data

41 In high school There are additional reasons for missing school
High school context makes it more difficult for teachers to monitor and address student behavior Problems getting to school on time Transportation issues—buses, distance Safety Avoiding fights Increased suspensions % Suspended Average # Days 8th grade ( ) 14 4. 8 9th grade ( ) 21 5.7 david Source: CCSR analysis of CPS student interviews and to CPS administrative data

42 Source: Allensworth & Luppescu (forthcoming)
In high school Classroom factors matter: The same student often has different attendance in different classes Some teachers’ students miss 13 days more per semester than other teachers’ students Among teachers who share the same students, and controlling for structural characteristics of the class Students are more likely to attend some of their classes than others: In the middle of the day (not 1st or 9th/10th period) Their smaller classes – those with fewer students Their classes with higher-achieving peers Elaine Attendance varies almost as much across a typical student’s classes as it does across students. Teachers’ students vary by 13 days per semester—almost 3 weeks (2 s.d.), even after controlling for WHO and WHAT they teach. Source: Allensworth & Luppescu (forthcoming)

43 Attendance Improvements

44 Systems and programs that promote better monitoring and support have shown improvements in attendance Know your district’s data What data elements are you pulling? How often? What indicators can you track in your schools On-track data tools Examples such as CPS Check & Connect May also be a need for coordination with other sectors Health care Transportation Safety Elaine Elaine can you speak to a successful collaboration effort between multiple agencies in the Chicago area. Working on attendance is a pathway to personalization

45 Can schools have much of an influence on attendance?
Yes! Schools with more supportive environments have better attendance than other schools serving similar students There have been substantial improvements over the last few years Elaine

46 Attendance Institute Website University of Chicago CCSR
Thank you Attendance Institute Website University of Chicago CCSR

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