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Using Attendance Data for Decisionmaking: Strategies for State and Local Education Agencies

Date: April 26, 2018
Location: Webinar

Nationwide, about 1 in 7 students is chronically absent–defined by the Office for Civil Rights as missing 15 or more days in a year for any reason, or by others as missing 10 percent or more possible days of attendance, whether it is excused or unexcused. When students miss too much school, they fall behind their peers academically, which can have lasting effects throughout their education and hurt their chances to graduate. This webinar will address the importance of accurately tracking student attendance data and how it can be used to make decisions in policy and practice that will support students who are chronically absent get back on track with their attendance.

Presenters Sue Fothergill of Attendance Works and Laura Hansen of Metro Nashville Public Schools shared highlights from their work conducting “deep dives” into student attendance data, including understanding the reasons that students are absent and building effective interventions to directly address them. Drawing from the recent National Center for Education Statistics’ “Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data” and Attendance Works’ “Key Ingredients for Systemic Change,” this webinar included concrete examples of how state and local education agencies can work within and across their departments and communities to address chronic absence.

As a result of their participation, attendees:

  • Learned about how attendance data, when examined effectively, can drive decisionmaking to support chronically absent students;
  • Were introduced to an inquiry process for examining attendance data that can uncover absence trends and help teams build shared understanding and consensus for problem solving; and
  • Heard about actions other districts have taken as a result of effectively collecting and understanding attendance data.



State- and district-level staff who are supporting schools and local education agencies to implement effective systems to track student attendance data and make decisions on how best to support chronically absent students.


April 26, 2018


Contact Information
Laura Buckner

Reducing Chronic Absence (Supporting the Whole Child), Data-Driven Decisions (Evidence Use in Education)


  • Kenwyn Derby (moderator), WestEd
  • Sue Fothergill, Attendance Works
  • Laura Hansen, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS)
Using Attendance Data for Decisionmaking: Strategies for State and Local Education Agencies