Over the past decade, chronic absence has gone from being a virtually unknown concept to a national education metric that provides every school in the nation with critical data on how many students are missing so many days of school it jeopardizes their academic success. The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution has created this interactive map using national data reported by school districts to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights from the 2015-16 school year to allow anyone to explore rates of chronic absence at the school, district, state, and national levels by student and school characteristics. This interactive map accompanies an Attendance Works report, Data Matters: Using Chronic Absence to Accelerate Action for Student Success by Hedy Chang, Lauren Bauer, and Vaughan Byrnes.
HOW TO USE THIS INTERACTIVE
USING THE MAP
Use the interactive map to hover, zoom in and out, and click around. As your mouse hovers over states, school districts, and schools, the rate of chronic absence by student and school district will appear. Clicking a state will bring you to a school district map and clicking a school district map will bring you to schools in that district. To go back, click the button that says “Go back one level.” To reset, click “reset the map.”
States: To investigate differences in chronic absence across states, click a state or enter the state’s name in the location bar. When you click on a state, it shows all the school districts in the state. After selecting a state, you can use the dropdown menus and tabs to learn more about the characteristics of chronic absence in that state.
Districts: To investigate differences in chronic absence by school districts, click the state and then the school district or enter the school district’s name in the location bar. When you click on a school district, it shows all the schools that are located within the bounds of that school district. After selecting a school district, you can use the dropdown menus and tabs to learn more about the characteristics of chronic absence in that school district.
Schools: To investigate differences in chronic absence by schools within a district, click the district and then the school or enter the school’s name in the location bar. When you click on a school, you can use the dropdown menus and tabs to learn more about the characteristics of chronic absence at that school.
USING THE DROPDOWN NAVIGATION (to the left of the map)
The “Location” bar allows you to enter the states, school districts, and schools without using the map. By entering locations that you are interested in using the “Location (state, school district, or school)” bar, the map will populate with your selection.
“Student Characteristics” allows you to see rates of chronic absence among different kinds of students or to compare across all students. In some instances, at the school level, data may be unavailable for some student groups; select “All” to provide more options.
“School Characteristics” allows you to see rates of chronic absence by gradespan and location or to compare across all schools. By selecting all schools, you will see every school.
USING THE TABS (below the map)
“By level” populates with bars that show rates of chronic absence as you click. At the school level, the bars will show chronic absence rates for the school, its district and state, and the national rate. It will change according to the student and school characteristics selected.
“Pick 2” allows you to select a second location to compare to the location you’ve selected for the map. For example, this tab allows you to directly compare two elementary schools in the same district or two comparable school districts in different states.
“By group” allows you to see detailed student and school characteristics. While the map will only show rates of chronic absence for the selected characteristics, this tab allows you to see all the detailed student and school characteristics for the location.
Data come from the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection, 2015-16. In these data, chronic absence is defined as a student missing 15 days or more of school.
For more information on methodology, see the technical appendix. For additional research and materials from The Hamilton Project regarding chronic absence and school accountability, please see The Hamilton Project website, www.hamiltonproject.org.
Data analysis by Lauren Bauer. Interactive design and development by Becca Portman.