Study: Absenteeism has big effect on test scores

INDIANAPOLIS - A new report suggests that children who miss even a few days of school can suffer big setbacks compared to their peers.

According to the report, published by Attendance Works, fourth graders who missed just three days of school the month prior to testing scored on average 11 points lower in math and reading than those who didn't miss a day. Eighth graders were even more affected, falling 13 points behind after three absences.

The disparity is equivalent to an entire grade lower on the National Assessment for Education Progress scale.

According to the study, the results were found across all social-economic groups.

At South Grove Intermediate School, Principal Tonya Reid said she wasn't surprised by the connection between absenteeism and academic performance.

"If they miss a day, they miss the lessons, they miss the homework, and so when they come back the next day they have to play catch-up," Reid said.

According to the report, as much as 17 percent of Indiana fourth graders missed three or more days of school a month during the period Attendance Works studied Indiana.

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