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Do you know why attendance is so important?

Dr. Wohl’s Corner

     Attendance, just how important is it in elementary school? Don’t the students have time to make it up? They are so young and have so many years of school left. That’s what I was wondering the other day so I did a little research. I was amazed with what I found. They can get really behind. Here’s what I discovered. If students have excellent attendance in kindergarten and 1st grade, their Language Arts scores in 3rd grade are 50 points higher than children who miss 18 days or more per year. While many of us may think missing kindergarten or 1st grade may not count much, it seems to be very important for testing success two and three years later. Again to my surprise, Math scores in 3rd grade for kids who were present at school are even higher yet. The scores were 76 points better than the students who miss more than 18 days of school per year in kindergarten and 1st grade. When I think about it, it makes sense. Each year is a building block for the next year and it can be hard to catch up with spotty attendance, including tardy days.

     Although the specifics may change from one research study to another, the trend is the same. Attendance is really important even for the very early years of school and can affect later performance. We have to watch closely because sometimes we don’t realize just how much instructional time children are missing with absent and tardy days combined. So, how can we as parents help our children be successful in school?  Excellent attendance.