California Schools Absenteeism Reduction

In California, student absenteeism is a major problem.  First, chronic absenteeism causes major damage to student learning, as the State Board of Education noted: “There is wide agreement that students who are absent 10 percent or more of the school year, including excused and unexcused absences, are at greater risk of reading below grade level and dropping out of high school (Ginsburg, Jordan, and Chang, 2014; Balfanz and Byrnes, 2012; Ginsburg and Chudowsky, 2012).” and “A study in California found that only 17 percent of children chronically absent in both kindergarten and grade one were proficient readers by the end of grade three, as compared to 64 percent of their peers who attended regularly (Bruner, Discher, and Chang, 2011).” (State Board of Education, 2015)

Further, absenteeism costs school districts valuable funding necessary to help support their mission, as schools are paid on their average daily attendance.  In fact, based upon an analysis of enrollment and attendance, California school districts lose over a billion dollars each year, and on average school districts lose 6% of their funding from absences.

Effective Education Solutions provides a comprehensive attendance improvement package that will improve lost revenue by 5% to 20%, helping school budgets by hundreds of thousands of dollars or in the case of larger districts, even a million dollars or more.

To achieve these improvement in attendance, we first conduct a series of analysis to understand the specific issues within the school, including:

  • Attendance Analysis of:
    • Attendance Rates
    • Daily Attendance
    • Chronic Absenteeism
    • Student Truancy
  • Process analysis of:
    • Attendance Systems
    • Attendance Monitoring
    • Student Followup
    • Independent Study

Based upon the analysis, we work with the district to implement the following tools to improve absenteeism:

  • Calendar Analysis and Improvement
  • The Early Warning System developed by the American Institutes for Research for Proactive Student Support
  • Improved Attendance Awards to Provide Better Incentives for Attendance
  • Automated Text / Calls to Remind Students and their Parents about Attendance
  • Improved Independent Study to Provide Other Options for Attendance
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Support Staff Professional Development

While each of these strategies often produce between 2% to 5% results each, the cumulative effect will generally be from 10% to 25%.  Or in other words, the improvements add up, and by also having a process of continual improvement, the effects will continue to get better, helping students to not slip through the cracks, and helping districts to not throw money out the window.


The California school accountability model now includes Chronic Absenteeism as a major indicator. Further, absenteeism in general costs California school districts a tremendous amount of funding.

Using a multi-strategy approach we help school districts to improve their attendance by 10% to 25%.


Ed Data Work
Knowledge Driven Education