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Tue September 2, 2014
Poor Attendance Hurts Oklahoma Students’ Test Scores
Missed class time means lower test scores for Oklahoma students, and large shares of students are missing class before taking a key national test, according to a new report released Tuesday.
About a quarter of Oklahoma's fourth and eighth graders missed at least three days of school in the month before they sat down to take a national assessment used to compare academic performance among states in 2013.
The report by Attendance Works, which advocates for policies aimed at improving attendance, found students' test scores dropped based on how many days of school they missed before taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the "Nation's Report Card."
Oklahoma had the 11th highest rate of fourth graders missing at least three days of class before taking the NAEP, at 23 percent. It had the fifth highest rate for eighth graders missing at least three days, at 25 percent.
The report was compiled using data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The study found Oklahoma fourth-grade students who missed no class in the month prior to testing scored eight points higher in math and nine points higher in reading compared with students who missed at least three days.
In eighth grade, students who missed no time scored 11 points higher on math and 17 points higher on reading.
Similar trends were seen across the nation.
Attendance Works said the results shows the need to put more of a focus on improving school attendance.
The group is using the report to push for better tracking of data for students who are chronically absent, for better public awareness and for better outreach to parents about attendance.
Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state.