Reason for taking attendance

The amount of state funding schools receives depends on how many children are in school.

The number of students that show up each day will translate into the number of dollars the District gets from the state, which in turn pays your salary. No students, no teachers. So next time little Johnny goes deer hunting, or plays truant during the school term the less funding the District receives.

Keeping accurate attendance records is very important. This is especially true when something happens in a school and the administration needs to know where all students were at the time. It is not uncommon for law enforcement agencies to contact schools and ask if a student was present or absent on a particular day. Therefore, make sure that you take the time to keep accurate attendance records.

As a teacher you have a legal liability to have taken accurate attendance.

How to take Attendance

Assigned seating does not work, children move, drop pencils, so you cannot see them behind a desk. Take Roll, A word of advice always take roll yourself. Never give the job to a student.

From a teacher’s experience on taking attendance:-

After trying several methods of taking attendance (sign-in boards, "in/out”, buddy boards, taking attendance by the remaining folders) it simply became most efficient to use the class time with a daily checklist, and simply go through the alphabet, literally laying eyeballs on each student. On good days, I can begin attendance while they enter the room...on days when everything is going on (fundraiser money coming in, concert days, homecoming, shortened periods, etc) it's a matter of using 2-3 minutes of class time.


Another Teacher takes attendance this way.

I take roll by having the students shout out their Name, I wait a 2nd or two for each person to shout out their name before I shout out the next name to get the roll moving again. I then tell the students which names I have marked as absent.

I take roll at the beginning of my class, so the principal can find the missing student.

Increase attendance. Make sure all students are in school every day. 

If children aren't there, they can't learn – so it's time to take attendance seriously. Attendance reform efforts should begin by creating a uniform way of measuring attendance, so attendance patterns can be compared across schools, and problems and successes can be identified.

The Average Daily Attendance (ADA) accounting method should encourage schools to emphasize attendance. The ADA count creates a team approach where teachers, administrators, parents and students all make sure that students attend classes whenever they are healthy.

Teachers and administrators are responsible for quickly determining why a student is not in class. Because they risk decreased funding, schools would be motivated to engage parents and students in attendance efforts.

The US Departments of Education and Justice offer five recommendations to districts working to improve attendance: 

1.      Involve parents in all truancy prevention activities. Many truancy programs provide intensive monitoring, counseling and other family strengthening services. Schools should encourage regular contact between teachers and parents before problems arise. Schools may also consider arranging convenient times and neutral settings for parent meetings, starting homework hotlines, training teachers to work with parents, hiring or appointing a parent liaison, and giving parents a voice in school decisions


2.      Enforce firm sanctions for truancy. School districts should communicate zero tolerance for truancy. State legislatures have found that linking truancy to the student's grades or driver's license can help reduce the problem. In Delaware, Connecticut and several other states, daytime curfews during school hours allow law enforcement officers to question youth who are not in school.


3.      Create meaningful incentives for parental responsibility. Parents of truant children must assume responsibility for truant behavior. It is up to each community to create meaningful incentives for parents to ensure that their children go to school. In some states, parents of truant children are asked to participate in parenting education programs.


4.      Establish ongoing truancy prevention programs in schools. Each truant student has unique reasons why he or she misses a lot of school. Schools need to combat the root causes of truancy. This might mean tutoring programs, added security measures, drug prevention initiatives, mentorship efforts through community and religious groups, campaigns for involving parents in their children's school attendance, and referrals to social service agencies. Some Wisconsin schools offer educational counseling that considers if learning difficulties are contributing to the problem or if curriculum changes could help.


5.      Involve local law enforcement in truancy reduction efforts. School officials should link with local police, probation officers and juvenile and family court officials to enforce truancy policies. Police Departments report that community-run, temporary detention centers are successful. Police take truant youth to these centers rather than bring them to local police stations for time-consuming, resource-draining processing. Police sweeps of neighborhoods where truant youth are often found can be dramatically effective when they are part of a comprehensive anti-truancy initiative.


REGULAR SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IS VITAL to children’s academic and social development. All absences, whether they are due to suspension, expulsion, truancy, illness or other excused reasons, reduce the time that students spend in the classroom learning.

Increasing school attendance is a critical first step to raising achievement levels for all students.


The earlier a student begins to have attendance problems, the greater the impact on achievement. For instance, chronic absence in kindergarten is associated with lower academic performance in 1st grade.

When many students in a class or school have poor attendance, the performance of all students suffers. This is because teachers must slow the curriculum to catch-up missing students.

Students with a 6th grade attendance rate below 90% had on-time graduation rates of 18-26%; those below 80% attendance had on-time graduation rates of only 5-13%; however, those who had at least 95% attendance had more than double the on-time graduation rate of those below 90%.


Truant youth are more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system. A study of Colorado youth found that over 90% of youth in juvenile detention have a history of truancy.

Individuals with a history of truancy are also more likely to face negative adult outcomes, including marital instability, job instability, criminal activity, and incarceration.