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Reducing chronic absenteeism under the Every Student Succeeds Act

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ABSTRACT

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; 2015) requires states to broaden school accountability beyond achievement on standardized tests and high school graduation rates. In this Hamilton Project strategy paper, we articulate a framework for states as they oversee implementation of statewide accountability plans under ESSA and describe how states differ in their approaches. We review the literature and present novel analyses of the factors at the school and student levels that relate to chronic absenteeism. Our analysis shows that health problems and socioeconomic status predict poor attendance, and that chronic absenteeism among students and schools is strongly persistent over time. We describe evidence-based strategies for schools as they work to reduce rates of chronic absence among students.

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