In the News: Lauren Bailes and Henry May
CEHD Faculty Share Research on Chronic Absenteeism
In a recent Education Week article, Lauren Bailes, assistant professor in the School of Education (SOE), discusses new research on the schoolwide effects of chronic absenteeism in kindergarten through 3rd grade in Delaware. Bailes co-authored this study with Henry May, director of CEHD’s Center for Research in Education and Social Policy and associate professor in the SOE, and CEHD alumna Danielle Riser.
The study found that chronic absenteeism in kindergarten predicted lower test scores on Delaware’s Smarter Balanced assessment in math and English language arts in 3rd grade. Significantly, these negative academic impacts were not limited to students with large numbers of absences. Rather, the schoolwide effect in schools with higher-than-average absenteeism was sometimes up to 20 times the effect on an individual student’s performance.
“This becomes not just an individual consequence, but a contextual effect that reflects just how hard it is to teach and to maintain a consistent academic program in a school where there is a lot of consistent, current, chronic absenteeism,” Bailes said. “It sort of takes what is happening on the individual level and magnifies it many, many times, so that even if an individual student in a high-absence school is not absent that much . . . they are likely to experience the consequences of that school-level average absenteeism.”