A new survey of middle and high school students confirms what we know from experience and common sense: reducing chronic absence requires strategic attention and intervention throughout the school year.
Conducted by Get Schooled, the survey showed 25 percent of kids are more likely to miss school during the spring semester rather than during the fall. When asked why, 17 percent of those who said they would miss school reported that nothing really happens in class in the last few weeks. Another 3 percent of students said they don’t go to class in the spring because they wanted to hang out with their friends outside of school.
Get Schooled is a national nonprofit with an active online platform that engages secondary students around attendance and other high school success indicators, and college and job readiness. The survey asked 500 secondary students two questions about their attendance in the spring semester.
The results showed the students who felt the most disengaged at school were the ones most likely to skip school, said John Branam, Executive Director of Get Schooled. Get Schooled shared the survey findings during the Attendance Works May 16 webinar. Nurture Dreams: Ensure Students Feel Safe, Supported, Connected and Engaged.
Listen to the May 16 webinar recording and find the presentation about the survey on our website.
These 2019 questions come on the heels of an earlier survey by Get Schooled. In 2015, Get Schooled asked approximately 1,000 high school students why they missed school, and what might encourage them to attend. Not feeling well (80 percent) and family obligations (40 percent) were the top two drivers. This 2015 survey made clear that young people see physical health as the reason for missing school. Additional research (not conducted by Get Schooled) shows physical health, mental health and feelings of disengagement are all tied together.
More than half of students surveyed in 2015 said they recognize the importance of coming to school every day. But 14 percent of students said they believe you can miss a few days of school a month and/or a day of school a week without causing any negative effects to your grades. This percent is remarkably higher among several sub-groups.
In 2019 Get Schooled asked students this same question again – whether missing school affects their grades. Sixty percent of students reported believing they need perfect attendance to have good grades. But approximately 40 percent thought they could miss a few days each year and still be okay, and a very small number think they can miss one day per week and it won’t affect their grades.
Get Schooled has created an online calculator to help students figure out how days missed from school affects their grades. Additionally, Get Schooled’s Attendance Challenges have resulted in hundreds of participating schools earning tens of thousands of dollars in grants and, most importantly, boosting their school attendance rates. Learn more about this year’s opportunities to engage with Get Schooled here.
Hear the full discussion of the Get Schooled surveys and the rest of the May 16 webinar.