8 million students. That’s the number of students who miss 10% or more days from school, defined as missing 10 percent or more of the year, according to the USDOE. The numbers have been alarming, so it is even more concerning that they represent the pre-COVID years. COVID will likely dramatically increase the number of students already struggling with participation and attendance. The implications are profound but there are proven ways to alleviate this rapidly growing problem.
Chronic absenteeism is linked to lower third grade reading proficiency, lower math and reading percentiles by middle school, and a 7x higher dropout rate in high school. There are also racial and ethnic disparities with regard to rates of chronic absenteeism. Compared to their white peers, Black students are 40 percent more likely to lose 10% of school or more, Hispanic students are 17 percent more likely, and American Indian and Pacific Islander students are over 50 percent more likely to lose three weeks of school or more. Approximately 800 school districts reported that more than 30 percent of their students were chronically absent in 2015-2016.
There are many reasons that children are chronically absent – those factors include barriers (e.g., illness, lack of health, mental health, vision, or dental care), negative school experiences (bullying, suspensions and expulsions, struggling academically or socially), lack of engagement (lack of culturally relevant, engaging instruction, unwelcoming school climate), and misconceptions (e.g, absences are only a problem if they are unexcused; missing 2 days per month doesn’t affect learning).
There are, also, many strategies for getting students to attend school regularly. But without data to understand why students are absent and the ability to engage and empower all of your families and students with accessible technology, supportive resources, and actionable information on a 24/7 basis, schools and districts cannot employ these strategies effectively. It can also be difficult to ascertain the reasons why students are chronically absent at the individual student, school, and district levels and connect the right student with just-in-time support at the right time.
5 Ways to Use AllHere to Address Chronic Absenteeism
AllHere provides educators with a comprehensive way to foster student attendance with mobile messaging powered by AI. We develop chatbots that support families and students on the path to and through school. With interactive nudges and simultaneous proactive and reactive support that refresh attendance data daily, AllHere helps educators, teachers, interventionists, counselors, and administrators stay one step ahead and support students at scale with AI-powered assistance at their fingertips 24/7.
Here’s how AllHere can help your school or district improve attendance.
Quickly monitor student-level attendance trends. Counselors, teachers, social workers, administrators, and educators can easily log-in and view student-level trends for the percentage of students that are “on track” and “at risk” of attendance issues. By refreshing attendance data on a daily basis, AllHere provides a near real-time view into a student’s attendance patterns. Educators can drill down to see which individual students are facing issues with attendance.
Help parents understand the importance of attendance. Get ahead of misunderstandings by proactively communicating why student attendance matters, and leverage our evidence-based text content and sequences to spark attendance for every child, everywhere.
Break down the complexity of good attendance into small steps that are easy to achieve. Parents often are not clear on what constitutes meeting attendance requirements, especially if attendance is taken asynchronously or as a function of assignment completion or logins—but even a missed login and a missed assignment can turn into chronic absence over the course of a year. Break down the complexity of great attendance by proactively giving families tips and reminders that are: easy to do, accessible to everyone, developmentally aligned to their child or children, and give families an “I can do this!” feeling. Send families and students just-in-time tips on how to promote their attendance and engagement by creating strong student routines – like signing in at a certain time each day, submitting required coursework, or checking in with a teacher or a counselor so that they are counted as “here.”
Provide helpful and personalized information, encouragement, and support to parents and students over a prolonged period of time. Parents often underestimate student absences, especially if they happen sporadically—but even two absences a month can turn into chronic absence over the course of a year. Keep parents up to date by sharing the total number of absences, whether as part of daily attendance notifications, separately, or both. And to help put this number in context, consider comparing their children’s attendance with other students in their grade, school, or district.
Leverage conversational AI to save staff time and to reach and listen to as many parents and students as possible. Send campaigns to students to nudge them to success, find the right resources and information exactly when they need it – even at 1 am—and strengthen your student-staff relationships with more time to foucs on meaningful interactions using conversational AI. when they meet it, send interactive surveys and get a wider picture on the “why” behind absences. Conversational AI answers 85% of incoming messages in 2 seconds or less, and helps to guide students and families at each stage of their learning journey.
Interested in seeing AllHere’s AI-powered text messaging intervention in action? Get in touch with our team to schedule a demo.