Photo of two girls studying in a classroom and tow graphs of attendance data.

A Matter of Perspective: Using Attendance Data as a Leading Indicator

SchoolStatus logo.
By SchoolStatus 3 min
Is your attendance data being used as a leading or a lagging indicator? What’s the difference?

In basic terms, leading indicators predict future performance and lagging indicators reflect current performance. According to Leading Agile, “Lagging indicators are typically ‘output’ oriented—they are easy to measure but hard to improve or influence.” Leading indicators “are easier to influence but hard(er) to measure…because you have to put processes and tools in place to measure them.” 

10% of students - chronically absent

For most districts and schools, attendance data is a lagging indicator that shows when students are chronically absent—meaning they’ve missed 10% or more of a given school year. It’s difficult to course-correct when a student has missed a significant amount of learning time. But if we use data proactively, as a leading indicator, we can identify and correct a pattern of absenteeism before it becomes chronic.

From Lagging to Leading

So, how can schools change from using attendance data as a lagging indicator to predicting and influencing it like a leading indicator?

An attendance management system helps ensure your district has accurate, actionable data to send proactive, automated interventions when they will have the most impact on student attendance. 

Leverage Data Insights to Spot Issues Early

Managing student attendance in a centralized system allows educators and administrators to easily identify irregular attendance habits before students become chronically absent. Attendance tracking systems that provide accurate, real-time analytics can highlight potential red flags so educators know when to reach out. 

Use a Systematic Approach to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

When attendance is managed through a process-oriented system—as a leading indicator—schools are better able to track attendance trends and communicate proactively with families and caregivers well before absences become chronic.

Sending the right message to the right audience at the right time leads to more engagement, better attendance rates, and long-term student success. Using an attendance management system with automated outreach and streamlined reporting saves administrators time, so they can focus more on strategic decision-making and student support.

Engage Families Positively and Proactively

Positive reinforcement—from school newsletters to letters from the principal to postcards sent directly to students—encourages families and students to build great attendance habits. Proactive outreach celebrating student success and educating families about the importance of attendance has a huge impact on student success. 

Ensuring families can understand school communications is crucial for student success. Sending intervention letters that are translated into the family’s home language keeps everyone fully informed about what’s happening with their child and at the school. Plus, communicating in the language families are most comfortable with builds relationships and trust. 

Attendance Management Success

SchoolStatus Attend is a data-driven attendance management platform that is proven to increase daily attendance while reducing administrative overhead. Our implementation team works with you to set up a customized, consistent process based on your unique goals and student needs. 

We partner with you to:

  • Reduce chronic absenteeism: With automated mailed interventions SchoolStatus Attend reaches students’ families and returns 54% or more of at-risk kids to school after just one intervention.
  • Reduce administrative overhead: Give your staff time back by reducing the time spent on attendance management by up to 75%.
  • Engage more families: Positive reinforcement, including postcards sent directly to students and letters for families and caregivers that are translated into over 100 languages, consistently engages families and encourages them to build great attendance habits.
SchoolStatus logo.
SchoolStatus is a unified K-12 platform that enables districts and schools to engage more families and improve attendance with our easy-to-use communications hub and data-driven attendance solutions. We support an integrated and impactful educational experience, from district leadership to families at home. With more than two hundred million successful school-home interactions, and millions of users, SchoolStatus drives meaningful results for districts and schools across the US.
Green Graphic Splash
Paper Airplane

Stay Connected

News, articles, and tips for meeting your district's goals - delivered to your inbox.