In Education

Chronic Absenteeism Tied To Historic Learning Loss

Students who missed the most amount of school are suffering the largest learning loss, according to FutureEd, an outlet that focuses on analysis for policymakers and education-related issues.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, K-12 reading scores took their largest-ever drop while math scores declined for the first time in 2022, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” Students who missed three or more days ahead of Nation’s Report Card testing scored worse on the test than students who weren’t absent, according to FutureEd.

Fourth-grade students who missed three or more days in the month before the Nation’s Report Card reading test scored 17 points lower than students who weren’t absent at all, the report showed. Those same students scored 12 to 13 points lower than students who missed one to two days in the month before the test.

Researchers suggest that 10 to 12 points represents an entire grade level, according to FutureEd.

Of eighth-grade students, low-income children who missed three or more days scored 15 points lower on the Nation’s Report Card math test than those who didn’t miss class and 10 points lower than students who missed one or two days, the report showed. Of students who do not come from low-income households, those who missed three or more days scored 17 points lower than students who did not miss class.

From 2015 to 2022, the amount of chronically absent low-income fourth-grade students rose from 15% to 41%, the report states. Of students who do not come from low-income households, the chronically absent rate rose from 15% in 2015 to 29% in 2022.

Students are chronically absent at historic rates, after the COVID-19 pandemic which kept students from in-person learning for months; more than 25% of students missed at least 10% of classes during the 2021-2022 school year, totaling an estimated 6.5 million students who have become chronically absent. In the 2018-2019 school year, 15% of students were missing the same amount of school.

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Reagan Reese

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