Student Attendance

Going to school every day is the first step for student success.

Excellent attendance is a crucial requirement for doing well in school--and life! Common sense indicates that a student may be absent for illness, emergencies, or for religious observance, but the goal is for every student to be in school every day.
A student who has 90% attendance is missing one month of instruction. A student with less than 90% attendance is considered chronically absent

  • Attendance is a required, legal record of whether a student was in school or not.
  • Absences may be excused--but are not eliminated--for religious observance, illness, or other reasons defined at each school.
  • Attendance can be part of academic plans and grading policy but cannot be a sole factor in determining grades or promotion.
  • The school must have a practical mechanism to notify parents when students are absent or late.
  • The school must examine attendance, lateness and early departure data and develop effective intervention strategies to improve school attendance.
  • Families are advised to schedule trips and vacations when school is not in session to minimize interruption in schoolwork that may impact academic progress.

Families and Students

Learn more facts about attendance and read tips for managing common reasons for absences.

Families and Students »

Schools and Attendance Policies

Read some keys to understanding student attendance in NYC schools, and schools can find links to additional "how to guides," data tools, and ideas for addressing attendance.

Schools and Attendance Policies »

Have a question not answered on these pages?
Call: 212-374-6095

    Attendance Matters

    Research shows that students who are chronically absent - missing about 19 or more in a school year - are less likely to graduate from high school. This includes students who miss just two days a month. In addition, national testing data shows that students with more absences score lower on standardized tests, no matter their age, demographic group, or state or city.

    • Chronic absenteeism is related to lower test scores and higher dropout rates for students at all income levels;
    • By sixth grade, chronic absence is one of three early warning signs that a student will drop out of high school; and,
    • By ninth grade, attendance can be a better indicator of dropout than eighth grade test scores.

    Visit Every Student Present and AttendanceWorks to learn more about absenteeism and how schools and families can support good attendance.

    Visit Every Student, Every Day Electronic Help Center for information on neighborhood services to help your child get to school on time every day.

    National Studies Demonstrate the Importance of Attendance

    Changes in attendance in middle grades are as predictive as test scores for being on-track in high school. Read The Middle Grades Student Transition Study, The Research Alliance for NYC Schools (2011).

    When schools, school districts and states began to measure and focus on chronic absenteeism, they were able to come up with programs to combat it.   Read The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation’s Public Schools, Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center (2012).

    Children from low-income families chronically absent in kindergarten had the lowest levels of achievement in fifth grade. Read The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades , The National Center for Children in Poverty (2008).

    Providing mentors for students who had missed 20 or more days the previous school year helped them gain 9 more days of school on average. Read Meeting the Challenge of Combating Chronic Absenteeism: Impact of the NYC Mayor's Interagency Task Force on Chronic Absenteeism and School Attendance and Its Implication for Other Cities, Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center (2013).