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K-12 Education

Two Reports on School Attendance & Academic Outcomes

These reports were produced by the Detroit Education Research Partnership at Wayne State University and funded by The Skillman Foundation in partnership with Every School Day Counts.

Report highlights include:

Third Grade Reading and Attendance in Detroit

  • Being chronically absent is a stronger predictor of third-grade reading achievement than demographics (e.g. race and income) in Detroit.
  • Each year of being chronically absent in grades K-3 is associated with a 26% increase in the probability of being eligible for retention under the Third Grade Reading Law.
  • If the Third Grade Reading Law had been in effect in 2018-19, 14.5% of third graders in Detroit traditional public and charter schools (over 1,000 students) would have been eligible for possible retention. Since the law was not in effect, only 229 students were retained, meaning that the law could more than quadruple the number of Detroit third graders retained.

Why Do Detroit Students Miss School?

  • Transportation was by far the most frequent and pervasive barrier to attendance, with parents describing the absence of school-provided transportation for most students, as well as a lack of reliable primary methods to get to school and a lack of back-up options.
  • Health issues such a chronic health conditions and mental health played a role in student absenteeism.
  • The report provides key implications for the return to school after the pandemic, as well as recommendations for what school, community, and government leaders need to be working on to reduce chronic absenteeism in Detroit.

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