Research demonstrates that socioeconomic factors, the strength of parental relationships, non-cognitive skills development, and the presence of adult responsibilities in a student’s life can all be predictive of a student’s chances of dropping out.
In our work with school leaders across the nation, though, we’ve heard again and again that these metrics can be hard to measure and difficult to monitor.
Fortunately, our work has given us a great perspective for developing a few simple indicators that can help educators know that a student is at-risk of disengaging.
For instance: Do your schools track first-day absences differently than other absences? They should. The first day of classes after a break can be a barometer for how a student feels about school — and can offer vital clues about how a student has prioritized education against other life factors.
Of course, educators should keep tabs on students who have multiple absences over a semester — but why wait for an entire semester? A list of students who missed a class or multiple classes on the very first day of the year can be a great start for an early intervention program.