Student Well-Being

Family Risk Factors Seen Contributing to Chronic Absence

By Linda Jacobson — March 04, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Until recently, research on the effects of family risk factors on children has mostly focused on the infant, toddler, and preschool years—without much knowledge about how these issues affect children once they enter school.

But a new report finds that children in families experiencing multiple risk factors—such as poverty or having a teenage mother—are more likely to have high absenteeism during their early years in school than children without those risks.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, researchers from the National Center for Children in Poverty in New York City analyzed the effects that family circumstances have on school attendance.

“In every grade, children experiencing any risk were more often chronic absentees—that is, they missed 10 percent or more of the school year—than those who did not encounter any risks,” they write in the report, released in late January.

They found that while the effects of those risks on attendance diminish over time, they spike again when children reach 5th grade. Those in poor health or who are ethnic or racial minorities were more likely than others to be exposed to “cumulative risk.”

The researchers also found different attendance patterns associated with each risk factor.

For example, 22 percent of kindergartners born to mothers under 18 years old missed 10 percent or more of the school year, compared with 10 percent of those whose mothers gave birth after age 18.

Also in kindergarten, 25 percent of children with mothers on welfare were chronic absentees, compared with 9 percent of children with mothers not on welfare.

Children of unemployed mothers were more prone to repeated absences than those of working mothers—19 percent, compared with 8 percent.

“The findings,” the report says, “point to the urgency to identify and provide supports to vulnerable children early in their formal schooling careers in order to steer them toward successful early learning trajectories.”

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Prekindergarten.

A version of this article appeared in the March 05, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum What Will It Take for Schools to Get Better?
Find out what educators and leaders can do to incite lasting and productive change that will make a difference in the lives of students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on SEL for Student Trauma
This Spotlight will help you support traumatized students, gain insights into the benefits of prioritizing student well-being, and more.
Student Well-Being CDC's Latest COVID Guidance for Schools Ends 'Test-to-Stay,' Quarantine Recommendations
Guidance from the CDC on COVID-19 de-emphasizes some school strategies, like social distancing and screening testing.
4 min read
Image of a cotton swab test.
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Should Medical Marijuana Be Allowed in Schools?
Many states are leaving it up to schools and districts to decide if students can take cannabis as medication.
7 min read
An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., sorts buds into prescription bottles on March 22, 2019.
An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., sorts buds into prescription bottles in 2019.
Julio Cortez/AP
Student Well-Being Opinion How Trauma-Informed Practice Made Me a Better Teacher
Students aren’t the only ones who need help managing their emotional responses. Here’s where to start.
Melody Hawkins
4 min read
Conceptual illustration of learning through trauma
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty