Education
Chronically Absent Students

Increasing


Chronically Absent Students

What does this measure?

The share of students in a school or district missing 10% or more of days in a school year due to absence.

Why is this important?

School attendance is critical to a student's education. Elementary children who do not regularly attend school will miss out on developing key skills, such as reading and arithmetic, critical to future success in school and life. Secondary school children who do not regularly attend school are at higher risk of failing and dropping out, exhibiting delinquent behavior, and engaging in various forms of risky behaviors. School attendance is linked to success in academic and social outcomes both during school years and later in life.

How is our region doing?

In 2021, 14% of students were chronically absent in MetroWest, below the state rate (18%). Many school districts had largely flat trends of absenteeism from 2009-2020, which then jumped in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, elevated 2021 rates should be interpreted with care and may represent anomalies, rather than meaningful shifts.

Rates were above 20% in Wayland (35%), Boston (29%), Milford (27%), Marlborough and Maynard (both at 26%) and Hudson (23%). Rates were less than 5% in Wellesley (2%), Carlisle, Sudbury and Westwood (all at 3%) and Dover, Concord-Carlisle, Needham, Weston, Acton-Boxborough, Lexington and Lincoln-Sudbury (all at 4%).

Rates in local charter schools ranged from 5-15%, with Francis W. Parker Charter Essential at the high end of the range and Foxborough Regional Charter at the low end.

Chronic absence rates decreased the most since 2009 in Bedford (down 5 percentage points) and Acton-Boxborough, Concord-Carlisle and Wellesley (all down 4 points). The Wayland School District experienced the largest increase (up 30 points), followed by Maynard (up 17 points) and Milford School District (up 16 points).

Notes about the data

Chronic absence is a different way of looking at school attendance from the more traditional measure of average daily attendance. Increasingly, educators and policymakers are tracking chronic absence as a more telling and insightful indicator. In any school or district, average daily attendance can be seemingly high (90% or higher) even though a small or moderate share of students are missing a lot of school.

Chronically Absent Students
2009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021
Massachusetts14%14%13%13%13%12%13%12%14%13%13%13%18%
Region11%11%11%10%10%10%10%9%10%10%10%11%14%
Middlesex11%11%10%10%10%10%10%9%10%10%10%11%13%
Norfolk9%10%9%8%9%8%9%8%9%9%9%10%12%
Worcester12%12%12%11%11%11%12%11%12%12%12%13%18%
Acton School District5%8%4%4%4%5%
Acton-Boxborough School District8%5%4%5%5%5%5%5%6%6%4%8%4%
Ashland School District10%10%6%5%5%5%6%5%6%6%7%9%16%
Bedford School District10%8%7%6%7%7%6%7%7%7%7%9%5%
Bellingham School District15%13%11%12%12%11%12%12%13%12%13%14%17%
Boxborough School District3%5%5%7%6%4%
Carlisle School District5%4%5%5%5%4%4%5%4%5%5%8%3%
Christa McAuliffe Charter Public (District)10%10%9%8%7%6%6%8%8%7%8%28%16%
Concord School District4%4%3%3%4%4%4%4%4%4%4%6%10%
Concord-Carlisle School District8%11%11%10%9%9%9%9%11%9%11%11%4%
Dedham School District11%14%10%9%12%12%10%9%11%13%11%12%19%
Dover School District6%2%3%4%2%3%2%3%4%4%6%5%4%
Dover-Sherborn School District5%6%7%5%4%3%5%4%4%4%5%5%5%
Foxborough Regional Charter6%6%7%5%4%5%5%6%6%8%8%8%5%
Framingham School District15%13%13%12%11%12%12%12%14%13%14%16%19%
Francis W. Parker Charter Essential11%17%15%12%13%11%10%11%11%10%10%15%15%
Franklin School District6%7%6%6%7%8%8%7%8%8%7%9%7%
Harvard School District5%8%9%10%9%8%9%10%8%9%7%8%5%
Holliston School District6%6%6%5%6%6%6%6%6%6%7%9%6%
Hopkinton School District4%4%4%4%5%4%4%5%5%6%6%8%6%
Hudson School District11%10%9%9%9%10%12%10%12%12%12%13%23%
Innovation Academy Charter8%7%8%5%6%7%8%7%7%6%7%9%9%
Lexington School District5%4%4%3%4%3%4%3%3%3%4%6%4%
Lincoln School District7%8%9%8%11%11%9%9%9%10%10%10%11%
Lincoln-Sudbury School District5%5%4%5%5%4%4%5%5%5%5%6%4%
Littleton School District7%8%7%7%7%6%6%6%7%7%6%8%5%
Marlborough School District12%12%11%10%12%15%13%12%14%15%17%17%26%
Maynard School District9%8%7%7%9%10%10%8%9%10%20%14%26%
Medfield School District6%5%4%4%3%4%5%4%4%4%4%4%10%
Medway School District8%8%7%4%6%10%8%7%8%8%6%5%10%
Milford School District11%12%11%10%11%11%12%11%14%13%15%17%27%
Millis School District8%7%5%5%6%4%5%6%6%7%5%8%6%
Nashoba School District7%8%7%6%6%5%6%7%7%7%7%8%8%
Natick School District8%9%8%7%7%6%7%6%6%5%5%6%9%
Needham School District3%5%5%6%5%5%5%5%5%6%5%7%4%
Sherborn School District3%1%1%4%2%3%3%3%5%3%2%4%6%
Southborough School District5%5%5%4%5%5%4%5%4%6%5%7%8%
Sudbury School District5%5%5%4%5%4%3%4%4%4%4%6%3%
Walpole School District7%6%5%5%6%6%6%5%6%6%7%8%11%
Waltham School District17%16%14%14%15%14%12%11%12%13%14%15%20%
Wayland School District5%5%5%4%4%5%5%4%5%5%3%4%35%
Wellesley School District6%5%4%5%8%6%9%10%9%11%6%7%2%
Westborough School District5%5%5%5%5%5%5%5%6%7%8%10%19%
Westford School District5%4%4%4%5%4%4%4%5%4%5%6%5%
Weston School District3%3%5%4%5%7%9%7%6%6%5%6%4%
Westwood School District6%5%4%4%5%4%4%4%4%4%4%5%3%

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education




Number of Chronically Absent Students
2009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021
Massachusetts132,330133,030128,045119,171121,256117,556123,304117,272128,756125,932122,760123,348161,329
Region48,75448,23047,04043,77444,19843,68145,38742,06746,54746,50846,36449,89559,982
Middlesex23,06622,67422,02620,38620,99420,80020,90118,98521,26021,27521,42923,45727,149
Norfolk9,5519,6899,1588,5089,1078,6989,3048,6879,3729,7589,35310,01311,574
Worcester16,13815,86715,85714,88014,09714,18315,18214,39515,91515,47615,58316,42521,259
Acton School District11521210888100116
Acton-Boxborough School District237147127131134145306292313336234411213
Ashland School District260253152132131132143146149171202259439
Bedford School District235197174156186185154185175175191237136
Bellingham School District409350290287295264283275296274278291327
Boxborough School District162323322818
Carlisle School District32273330332826282530324516
Christa McAuliffe Charter Public (District)202021202022233332263111365
Concord School District8370665894817684869388116196
Concord-Carlisle School District9913413212211011311211513911714414653
Dedham School District311396297266348338272258307356293317483
Dover School District32141420111510151721292417
Dover-Sherborn School District58707554483759474845555756
Foxborough Regional Charter63697758466562747611012912877
Framingham School District1,2481,0601,0479979279529871,0171,2051,1711,2701,4631,642
Francis W. Parker Charter Essential43676048524339434340386059
Franklin School District382398362369399444456358411407385436314
Harvard School District6098108130111929910893102738054
Holliston School District165160181139175175175165182183211262151
Hopkinton School District138148131119164149142184163193221301224
Hudson School District337319263251249283339290312316308331551
Innovation Academy Charter30375031385161555549577274
Lexington School District318260274205234225237215226239305410297
Lincoln School District80879792134139117107110119114108113
Lincoln-Sudbury School District88766374717261728369799266
Littleton School District10712210910510792961011121189813178
Marlborough School District5255274804645326585865526297007687991,213
Maynard School District1211029498120145135111131144273182302
Medfield School District1681391151008496129991159591112249
Medway School District223218182110149250184175178186127115214
Milford School District4655034564154504525094595905406247271,127
Millis School District1101057967805772868192649071
Nashoba School District245257231207187168215237242221236254256
Natick School District382402362341339333365342306292288315452
Needham School District169250252297268260281251279323309371219
Sherborn School District1544157101212221381822
Southborough School District787278567062496349756792101
Sudbury School District1521421451201411058911910711910314973
Walpole School District255221214205225224241211224236266283406
Waltham School District8037536627047447226465866667457898781,107
Wayland School District14414513711811412113310112712267100942
Wellesley School District29424817623438632246148244753127833198
Westborough School District181190172158179194188176236255302382708
Westford School District244211190227247218211221276203228291250
Weston School District82791099712317019214812313510111276
Westwood School District17514012911514611211511311712813314794

Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education




INDICATORS TREND
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Decreasing
School Spending Per Student Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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