In early 2010 the Council conducted a detailed research study into the patterns and trends of attendance in Oakland public schools in partnership with the OUSD Research, Assessment: Data team and Attendance Counts. This research and the following spatial analysis revealed high levels of chronic absence in our district (Chronic Absence is defined as missing 10% or more of a school year- 18 days in California).
We then took these results and the nationally backed research findings and best practices to the OUSD Superintendent, Tony Smith, who was shocked at the number of children so chronically absent. Since that meeting we have been working with the OUSD to educate principals and educators about the levels and impact of chronic absence.
Using 6th grade absence data we are able to accurately predict high school drop-out rates for poor children so this is a solid, early indicator of later success or failure for our students. The OUSD now prepares school level reports on absence each week with splits by ethnicity and gender as this indicator also reveals the massive ethnic disparities in our school system – African American children are more than twice as likely to be chronically absent as White & Asian children.
The following chart shows the variation between ethnic groups, gender and other classifications of students in OUSD Elementary Schools.
To see a dynamic presentation on this topic and our research check out this link (presentation only, no video/audio) or view below: