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East County News Service

Photo: Children at school © Daniel Hurst Photography. Creative Commons - ShareAlike 2.0

November 10, 2020 (Sacramento) — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has released, for the first time, statewide absenteeism data that provides information about the types of reasons students are absent. The “absenteeism by reason” (AR) reports available on the CDE Dataquest website offer an extensive statewide view of absenteeism numbers that can assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in their efforts to develop targeted attendance intervention strategies and support.

“Knowing why students are missing school is a crucial step in helping them stay in school,” said Thurmond. “These data add an extra layer of transparency to existing absenteeism information and a level of detail that school districts can utilize as they evaluate the effectiveness of existing attendance plans and compare absenteeism rates with other districts. It also creates an opportunity for school attendance staff throughout the state to collaborate and share best practices on methods to improve attendance, identifying specific actions that can help students and their families overcome attendance barriers.”

The CDE developed the new AR reports based on student absence data submitted and certified by LEAs and independently reporting charter schools through the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). The catalyst for providing this data came from a recommendation proposed by the State Superintendent’s Improving Data Collection Workgroup that was convened in the summer of 2019. One of the goals for the workgroup was to improve the availability of publicly reported data. Although AR information is annually collected through CALPADS, this critical measure of student attendance has not been reported until now.

The data available in this release include the 2017–18 and 2018–19 academic years. The AR report categories are: excused absences, unexcused absences, absences due to out-of-school suspension, and incomplete independent study absences. Even if a student has excused absences, they are considered chronically absent if they miss 10 percent of the days they were expected to attend school.

The reports provide data disaggregated by race/ethnicity, student groups, grade level, and by academic year. The reports also include filters that allow the data to be viewed along a variety of dimensions, including by school type (charter and non-charter schools), for alternative and traditional schools, for chronically absent and non-chronically absent students, and by gender.

In addition to statewide data, the reports are also available at the district and school levels. Downloadable data files that support many aspects of the new AR reports are also available. To view the AR reports, visit the CDE Dataquest website. Downloadable data files can be found on the CDE Data & Statistics web page.


The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. You may also follow Superintendent Thurmond on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.