The effects of chronic absenteeism in kindergarten on third-grade STAAR scores.
This study was an investigation of whether or not kindergarten attendance was associative with and predictive of student performance on the third-grade state of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness for both mathematics and reading. Over the past 10 years, the topic of chronic absenteeism has become a key element in school assessment formulas under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and a growing body of research has pointed to the detrimental impact of chronic absenteeism on academic performance. This has been especially damaging to those students in elementary school because it has been linked to higher retention rates, poor reading and numeracy skills, and lagging social emotional skills. This study was of a quantitative, nonexperimental design that utilized mathematical relationships of an associative and predictive nature to address the study’s five guiding research questions. The study’s sampling technique was nonprobability convenient, and purposive in nature and allowed for analysis of archived kindergarten attendance and thirdgrade performance data from a cohort of fourth graders within a school district located within a midsized metropolitan area of the southwestern region of the Unites States. The findings from the study supported the predictive nature of kindergarten attendance on performance for males specifically on the mathematics test. The study also revealed nearly identical attendance rates for both economically disadvantaged and not economically disadvantaged students but did show a gap in performance between the two groups. Due to the nature of the study design, one of the major limitations of this study was in the lack of generalizability of results to outside populations. The sample size also had unusually high attendance rates with over 85% of the sample missing 5 days or fewer. Even with the data skewed, the study revealed the predictive nature of kindergarten attendance on third-grade male mathematics performance and showed the need for future research into why the achievement gap between the two groups of students persisted when the literature suggested better attendance would reduce it.