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Truancy

Definition:
Percentage of students in all grades (public schools) absent more than 20 days of the school year (excluding summer school).*

 Percentage of Maryland Public School Students Absent More than 20 Days by Academic Year, by Academic Year
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
MD 13.5 13.0 12.4 12.0 11.3 11.2 11.3 10.8 11.1 10.3

Data Source: Data compiled by the Maryland State Department of Education

Story Behind the Data: Absenteeism and truancy contribute to lost learning opportunities and have negative long-term consequences for students and communities. High levels of school absence are associated with a higher risk of school failure, high school dropout, delinquent behavior, substance abuse, and other high-risk behaviors.  The current data reporting system is structured to collect statistics for absences of more than 20 days, although it is important to note that these data do not differentiate between students with “excused” versus “unexcused” absences.  Additionally, this measure does not include students enrolled for fewer than 91 days during the school year.

Maryland educators appreciate the significant role parents play in their children’s education., and absentee rates from school are one measure of parent-school collaboration. Between 1999 and 2014, the percentage of students absent 20 or more days decreased from 13.7% to 10.3%. The Maryland State Board of Education’s family involvement policy, adopted in October 2001, is supportive of the fact that when schools, families, and community organizations work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more. Through this policy, MSDE is able to create professional development programs on family, school, and community involvement for school staff and families.

Additionally, through programs like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)Truancy Courts, and a regional consortium on the Eastern Shore, as well as the strong involvement of Pupil Personnel Programs addressing individual involvement with local departments of social services, juvenile services, and the Attorney General’s Office, Local School Systems are continuing to place an emphasis on school attendance and achievement.

Notes:
*School attendance data is calculated as the percentage of students present in school for at least half the average school day throughout the school year.  This measure is consistent with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) standard that students attend 94% of school days.

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