When we think about student attendance issues, there is a tendency to immediately think about students missing class because of delinquency. Certainly, truancy and skipping school are signs of a problem that should be addressed. However, even excused absences can be a sign of a potential issue.
Manual daily attendance taking and reporting is fraught with problems and can leave holes in an administration’s view of what’s going on. Teachers, overburdened with a large class and a significant amount of work to get through, may miss reporting an absent student. Day-to-day views of attendance may not reveal a progressing concern until it’s grown into a full-fledged issue.
Administrators and staff need tools like student attendance tracking software that both alleviates the overhead of daily tracking tasks for teachers and offers administrators more comprehensive reporting to recognize and react early on to potential problems.
Why Tracking Attendance Is So Important
There are a host of reasons that tracking student attendance is an important part of a school’s operation. Some are directly related to how a school runs. For instance, having students in school, especially on key recording days, can impact a district’s funding.
More importantly, however, attendance can be a signal to an existing or growing problem with a student or in the school. Truancy is a definite issue, while chronic absenteeism is a more insidious problem that can be hard to spot early on.
In both cases, students suffer from missing lessons and risk falling behind their peers when they are not in class. Truancy, at least, tends to be blatant and is more easily spotted, even with the most rudimentary of attendance tools.
Chronic absenteeism, however, can be harder to spot without visibility into a student’s attendance patterns until it’s too late. By the time administrators know there is a problem, the student may be experiencing a devastating effect on their ability to perform academically and as a result, negatively impact the rest of their educational experience.
The Challenges of Tracking and Analyzing Attendance Data
Tracking student attendance can be a challenge at nearly every level. Without the right tools, educators are pulled from instruction for a significant percentage of their teaching time to take attendance. Students themselves can interrupt the attendance process as teachers try to keep order. As with many manual tasks, the process becomes ripe for inaccuracies and misreported data.
Without accurate data, administrators are faced with their own problems in regards to attendance. Inaccurate data creates numerous roadblocks to finding and acting on potential patterns. Without readily available analytics, trends, and symptoms that point to a problem, attendance red-flags can easily be missed.
How Student Attendance Tracking Software Helps
Problems for both administrators and educators can be addressed with attendance tracking software and technology. Software specialized for tracking attendance removes the burden from teachers, freeing up time for lessons. It also provides administrators with complete and accurate data.
The flow of information is also improved. Teachers can quickly take attendance through tracking software, which is then available immediately in the office. With early notification, administrators can kick off procedures for missing students and match those with excused absences.
Even excused absences, however, can trend toward chronic absenteeism if they occur too frequently. Effective attendance software, however, can provide alerts and analytics, even stretching back to previous school years. This reporting can clearly show how a student’s attendance trends over time and can call attention to a problem that might otherwise go unnoticed.
When paired with smart student IDs, tracking student attendance becomes more accurate. Students are empowered and accountable for checking into their classrooms by simply scanning their ID as they walk in, completely eliminating the burden from teachers to check and monitor attendance.
Attendance is a reliable indicator of future academic success. If a student is struggling, attendance can be the red flag that they need additional support or interventions. But it’s difficult for a school to offer assistance to a student trending toward chronic absenteeism or displaying issues with truancy without accurate data.
Data accuracy, however, is a multi-tiered problem. Teachers are challenged to quickly and easily take attendance without further disrupting their lessons, while administrative staff struggle to understand the data they have.
Student attendance tracking software removes many of the challenges facing schools and integrates well with top-down and trend level reporting. Adding in smart ID cards so that students can take ownership of their attendance reporting improves the system further. With the right attendance tracking software in place, schools can offer help to students in need early on and set them back on the path to a productive educational experience.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school leaders to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and integrates student rewards, interventions, and tracking with PowerSchool®, Infinite Campus, and other popular SIS platforms.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure, learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides, or get free recommendations, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!