Policy Brief

Chronic Absence in California

What New Dashboard Data Reveals About School Performance
Chronic Absence in California
Kevin Gee
School of Education at the University of California, Davis
Christopher Kim
University of California, Davis
In this policy brief, we describe the chronic absence performance levels of California’s districts, schools, and student groups using newly released data from California’s School Dashboard. We also examine the role that chronic absence plays in determining differentiated assistance. For schools with very high chronic absence rates (above 20 percent), nearly two thirds reported increases while about a third reported declines from the previous year. Also, about 1 in 4 districts had African American as well as American Indian or Alaska Native student populations who were classified in the lowest performance level. Finally, a majority of districts that qualified for differentiated assistance did so due to chronic absence. Districts and schools should use the continuous improvement process to examine and evaluate the underlying reasons for their performance.