Report: Chronic absenteeism at DC public schools improves slightly, remains high

The number of D.C. public school students missing class has improved slightly in a new report, but still remains high.

Chronic absenteeism dropped from 48% to 43% in the 2022 to 2023 school year in D.C. public schools, according to the attendance report by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

The report found that truancy fell from 42% to 37% during the same time.

The report comes at a time when there is an increased number of D.C. teachers leaving their jobs and fewer students repeating ninth grade despite reports of high chronic absenteeism.

OSSE noted that only 2% of all public school instruction in the District was remote during the 2022 to 2023 school year.

The report stated that high schoolers had the lowest attendance rate compared to elementary and middle school students.

It found that 60% of high school students were chronically absent, compared to less than 40% of students in lower grades

When it comes to chronic truancy, elementary grades showed 28% were chronically truant, compared to 60% of high school students.

Freshmen and seniors in high school had the highest level of absenteeism, according to the report. About 63% of students in ninth grade and 12th grade were chronically absent.

It also found that schools that had later start times had lower attendance rates.

For every 10 minutes later school started at local high schools, on average, the attendance rates were 2.5 percentage points lower, according to the report.

The likelihood of being chronically absent was 2.9 times as high for economically disadvantaged students as students without economic disadvantage, according to the report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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