Every school has an attendance policy of some sort in place to encourage students to be in school as much as possible. A recent influx of absences at my school caused me to evaluate our attendance policy and to look at the data our school collects concerning attendance. This was a very interesting process with one startling conclusion.
Since 2005-2006 my school's attendance rate has hovered around the 95% mark. On paper this looks like an acceptable rate, but breaking down the data farther brought up interesting results. I decided to find the number of days the average student would miss in a single school year based upon the 95% attendance rate. An average student would miss 9.0 schools days based on a 180 day school calendar which is the average number of days taught in the United States.
Nine days doesn't seem like an extreme amount of absences, but when you take the nine day average and multiply it by fourteen years in school if the student attends Pre-Kindergarten, then the numbers become more startling. An average student would miss 126 school days from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. This translates to 70% of a single school year. This is only the average. It is extremely disheartening to think about all those students who are considered to have attendance issues.