ISBE recently clarified what "exceptions" are allowed under the new definition of chronic absenteeism. Only students "for whom a documented homebound or hospital record is on file during the student's absence from school
" will count as an exception in the calculation of chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is one of the school quality indicators that will be measured under Illinois' ESSA plan. The clarified definition maintains alignment with the revised language in the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/26-18
) which became effective January 1, 2018.
"Chronic absence" means absences that total 10% or more of school days of the most recent academic school year, including absences with and without valid cause, as defined in Section 26-2a of this Code, and out-of-school suspensions for an enrolled student.
"Student" means any enrolled student that is subject to compulsory attendance under Section 26-1 of this Code but does not mean a student for whom a documented homebound or hospital record is on file during the student's absence from school.
In its September 5, 2018 report, 8 Millions Students are Chronically Absent, States Report, Education Week notes that 1 in 7 students is "chronically absent" across the country. In Illinois, 15-20% of all students fall into the category of "chronically absent." The article gives a state-by-state analysis and details some "success stories" for tackling the problem.
Additional Resources to Address Chronic Absenteeism in Your School or District: