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Small Difference, Big Impact

A recent study found that the more days a child missed of pre-school created greater disparities in their educational attainment across school life.On average, children missed eight days of the school year. In addition, 12% of children were chronically absent -- defined as missing 10% of the school year or more -- and missed an average of 22 days of school. Children who missed more days of school, especially those who were chronically absent, demonstrated fewer gains in math and literacy during the preschool year, the study found. Moreover, excessive absenteeism was especially problematic for the early academic learning of children who entered Head Start with a less developed skill set, meaning that they started school with the lowest language and literacy skills. The study also found that minority children were less likely to be absent than White children. In addition, children were less likely to be absent when they were enrolled in classrooms that operated for more hours per week, and in larger and bilingual classrooms. The quality of interactions between teachers and children facilitated children's development of literacy skills, but the benefits were roughly twice as large for children who were absent less often. For the full article click here.

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