Student Attendance in Detroit

School attendance is critical to students' short- and long-term success in school and in life. Yet, more than half of the students in Detroit miss 18 days or more during the school year. As part of the Detroit Education Research Partnership, WSU researchers collaborate with the Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Every School Day Counts Detroit coalition to study the factors that contribute to student absenteeism in Detroit, inform changes in policy and practice, and evaluate improvement through a continuous learning framework. We are in the midst of a long-term mixed-methods study of the district's approach to addressing chronic absenteeism. Our public reports aim to provide essential information about which students miss school most, what school and neighborhood characteristics may be related to absenteeism, and how educators may be able to use data to identify patterns in absence earlier and help remove barriers to attendance for their students.

Major Findings Include:

  • More than half of students who attended school in Detroit were chronically absent in 207-18, missing 10% or more of the school year.
  • Controlling for individual student characteristics, students were more likely to be chronically absent if they attended a school with high rates of student mobility, were new to the school, and when they lived in neighborhoods with higher asthma rates.
  • Detroit's high attenders missed an average of just 2 days a year and performed significantly better on ELA and math standardized tests than non-high attenders, even those missing an average of 9 days a year.
  • Most of Detroit's high attenders were enrolled in "commuter" charter schools downtown and in the Detroit Public Schools Community District's application- or exam-based schools, traveling farther on average than non-high attenders to enroll in school.

Check Out Our Research on Student Attendance in Detroit

Chronic Absenteeism and Student Attendance, Report 1  Geography, School Type, and High Student Attendance in Detroit

Download a PDF of our first Chronic Absenteeism and Student Attendance report. Download a PDF of the technical appendix.

Download a PDF of our Geography, School Type, and High Student Attendance in Detroit.

Download a PDF of the executive summary of Geography, School Type, and High Student Attendance in Detroit.

Detroit Education Research Partnership