Increasing Student Attendance: Strategies from Research and Practice

April 2019
high school students

The importance of attendance is well understood, yet effective strategies for increasing it are not so definitive. Although promising practices exist across the country, there are no “silver bullet” approaches proven to keep children in school.

Increasing Student Attendance: Strategies from Research and Practice attempts to briefly summarize the research on this very complex issue. It presents some research-based ideas as a starting place for those who want to develop better policies and practices for attendance and to understand the factors that contribute to increased attendance, engagement and a lower dropout rate. This booklet emphasizes, as does other research on attendance and dropouts, that strategies and policies must not be implemented in isolation from each other; that attendance policies, family engagement, student engagement and community engagement must all connect for any strategy to really succeed.

Originally published in 2004 by Education Northwest (known then as the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory), this booklet remains popular with thousands of downloads each year. We acknowledge that the research and terminology have evolved since original publication and provide it as a foundational piece for educators exploring effective practices that support student attendance.

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