Attendance interventions for chronically absent students

Program basics

  • Provides support and resources to address individual barriers to school attendance
  • Can offer support for physical or mental health factors, family conditions, or school issues, such as relationships with teachers or bullying
  • Poor attendance is correlated with delinquency, substance abuse, poor academic performance, and dropping out

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Strong evidence for improved school attendance
  • On average, school attendance improved by about 1 week
  • Program components and effectiveness vary

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Collect a wide range of data on student well-being to guide more precise interventions and identify whether students are missing school because of mental health struggles, family issues, social challenges, or community-based factors.
  • Interventions tend to be more effective when they address students' and families' physical and mental health needs.
  • Engage in family outreach to identify barriers to attendance and target interventions more effectively.
  • Increase student access to support services before attendance has become a major issue.
  • Recognize school attendance with positive behavioral supports, like recognition from peers, award ceremonies at school assemblies, extra recess time, etc.
  • Refrain from punitive messages and measures, which are generally ineffective and often lead to counterproductive suspensions and explusions.
  • Engage with students and parents to raise awareness about the negative effects of chronic absenteeism.

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