Will Schools Start Lying About Attendance Rates?

Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 11:12:23 PM. States are planning to use chronic absenteeism to assess performance, but some wonder if incentives will lead administrators to manipulate the data.
Schools across the country are about to be held accountable for student attendance—attaching stakes to a measure that previously had much less significance and increasing the risk that schools will try to manipulate that data. But it’s unclear how effectively states have prepared for that possibility, or have systems in place to accurately monitor absenteeism data at all. “It’s human nature, when the stakes rise, to want to game the system,” said Phyllis Jordan of the Georgetown-based think tank FutureEd. She recently wrote an analysis finding that 36 states plan to use chronic absenteeism to measure schools under ESSA, the federal education law. “In that regard, I don’t think chronic absenteeism is any different than other measures, like test scores.” More From Chalkbeat Independent charter schools look to raise their profile, apart from networks and Betsy DeVos The rise of tax credits: How Arizona created an alternative to school vouchers — and why they’re spreading For almost half of Memphis graduates, formal education ends after high school Of course, one way for schools to improve their chronic absenteeism marks is to add support that helps students to show up to school. That’s exactly how experts and policymakers hope educators will respond, and because states are only using chronic absenteeism as a small portion of the accountability system, the incentives for cheating may not be strong. But past experience with evaluation systems suggests that a small number of...Read more
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