Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. EA 1.3 School Absenteeism

01/01/2000

Student absenteeism is associated with poor achievement in school, among other outcomes; for example, absenteeism is one of five personal and family background factors that accounted for 91 percent of the variation in states’ mathematics scores in a recent national report.6

Differences across Grade Levels. The percentage of 8th-grade students who were absent from school 3 or more days in the preceding month has remained relatively constant between 21 and 23 percent from 1990 to 1998 (see Table EA 1.3). During the same time period, a slightly larger percentage of 12th-grade students were absent from school for that length of time, with percentages ranging between 26 and 31 percent.

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.7Among 8th graders in 1998, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic students, at 34 percent and 25 percent respectively, were the most likely to have been absent 3 or more days in the preceding month. White and Asian students had the lowest absentee rates at 21 and 17 percent, respectively, followed by black students at 23 percent. The patterns are similar for 12th-grade students, though the differences range from lows of 26 to 28 percent for white, Asian, and black students, to a high of 41 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native Students.

Differences by Parents’ Education Level.8Absences from school were highest for students whose better-educated parent had less than a high school education (see Figure EA 1.3). In 1998, for example, 33 percent of 8th graders whose better-educated parent lacked a high school diploma were absent from school 3 or more days in the preceding month, compared with 17 percent of their peers who had at least one parent with a college degree. Similar differences were reported for 12th-grade students.

Differences by Type of School. Students who attended private or Catholic schools experienced fewer school absences than did students from public schools, across all grades and years (see Table EA 1.3).

 

6 National Education Goals Panel. 1994.
7 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
8 Parents’ education level refers to the highest level of education completed by either parent.

 

Table EA 1.3 Percentage of 8th- and 12th-grade students in the United States who were absent from school 3 or more days in the preceding month, by gender, race and Hispanic origin,a parents’ education level,b and type of school: 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1998

  8th Grade 12th Grade
  1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 1985 1990 1995 1996 1997
Total 23 22 22 23 21 31 26 28 26 26
Gender
Male 21 21 22 22 21 29 24 27 25 26
Female 24 24 22 23 22 32 27 28 28 28
Race and Hispanic origina
White, non-Hispanic 22 21 20 21 21 31 24 26 26 26
Black, non-Hispanic 23 22 27 25 23 30 29 32 28 28
Hispanic 26 31 28 29 25 34 32 32 29 32
Asian/Pacific Islander 9 12 21 18 17 32 19 28 26 26
American Indian/Alaska Native 37 38 39 29 34 53 30 41
Parents’ education levelb
Less than high school 38 31 33 32 33 41 30 36 35 32
Graduated high school 27 23 26 26 25 34 28 30 30 30
Some education after high school 22 21 22 23 23 31 26 27 30 27
Graduated college 15 19 18 18 17 27 23 25 21 24
Type of school
Public 23 23 23 23 22 31 27 28 28 28
Nonpublic 13 14 15 16 15 24 17 21 18 19

— = sample size is insufficient to permit a reliable estimate.
a Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
b Parents’ education level refers to the highest level of education completed by either parent.
Note: The sample for this table is based on the 1990, 1992, 1996, and 1998 National Mathematics Assessments and the 1994 National Reading Assessment.
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996 Data Almanacs. National Mathematics Assessment data may be found at http://nces.ed.gov/naep/tables96/index.html (Question #15, S004001). National Reading Assessment data (1994) are from unpublished data almanacs.

 

Figure EA 1.3 Percentage of 8th- and 12th-grade students in the United States who were absent from school 3 or more days in the preceding month, by parents’ education level: a 1998

a Parents’ education level refers to the highest level of education completed by either parent.
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996 Data Almanacs. National Mathematics Assessment data may be found at http://nces.ed.gov/naep/tables96/index.html (Question #15, S004001). National Reading Assessment data (1994) are from unpublished data almanacs.

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