Graduation AND Chronic Absenteeism Up in NYC Traditional High Schools

How does a high school have an 82% 4-year grad rate, but 70% of students are chronically absent (missing 10% of school days)?

While digging around NYC’s school quality data recently, I saw many schools that had high graduation rates AND a high rate of chronic absenteesim. Of course, schools with 100% grad rates are generally doing better with attendance than schools with 70% grad rates, but the data’s all over the place: see scatter plot below of traditional high schools. On average, 4-year grad rates for traditional high schools are up 3 percentage points in the past two years, and chronic absenteeism is also up slightly at just over 1 percentage point. Of the schools who improved their grad rates, 56% of them have HIGHER rates of chronic absenteeism, and 10% have the same rate, compared to the previous year. So, improved attendance is not the reason for that growth. My optimistic hypothesis: more graduation pathways, more support for absent students, inaccurate data. My investigative journalist hypothesis: lower and varied standards across schools.

This is what normal people do for fun. Right, guys?

Source: NYC DOE School Quality Reports 2017-18

Source: NYC DOE School Quality Reports 2017-18

Alison HolsteinComment