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  1. Original excuse notes (1) • Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33. • Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating. • John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face. • Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part. • Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins. • Please excuse little Jimmy for not being in school yesterday. His father is gone and I could not get him ready because I was in bed with the doctor

  2. Why now? – background • New Zealand has very high rates of non-attendance and truancy • ENROL has highlighted a surprising number of non-enrolled students • School support has published Attendance Guidelines (May 2007) as part of the Student Support handbook – we want to contribute to the next phase which will support the introduction of the electronic Attendance Register (eAR) • All SMS vendors are expected to be approved for eAR by next term • The number of schools with accredited SMS is now approaching 95% • We would like to provide schools with as much assistance as possible re good attendance management to reduce their preparatory workload

  3. What is the measure of good attendance?

  4. What is the measure of good attendance? • • The family of Mr J. H. Williams, of Ellesmere, Canterbury, setting out on their three-mile journey to school. • the two older girls have not missed a ½ day for more than eight years • the boy has not missed a ½ day for over seven years • the youngest child has now been at school two years without missing a ½ day. (1925) • Selwyn photographic collection

  5. Electronic Attendance Register (eAR) • eAR is intuitive easy to use attendance software that is available as part of the offering included in student management systems. • It meets quite specific and demanding requirements and has to be approved by the Ministry of Education before a vendor can include it in their SMS

  6. What are the advantages of using eAR? • eAR has numerous statistical calculations built-in • Attendance objectives can be measured and related back to school targets • Links can be made between attendance, behavioural and achievement data • The time taken per teacher to enter data is minimal • Information is available faster • Teachers no longer have to fill out the E19/1 • Student retention will improve • Casual truants can be identified before they become serious truants

  7. What are the advantages of using eAR? • Easier, more accurate targeting of what and where resources need to be deployed • The level, or richness of information is much better • Comparisons can be made between schools anywhere in the country • The biennial attendance survey will be able to be done at the touch of a button • Schools will have a tool enabling them to identify individual students and trends within year levels that in turn will allow them to be proactive in both identifying and reporting to parents, senior management & BOT

  8. Requirements • an holistic approach – it needs to be seen as a whole of school improvement issue led by senior management • commitment and understanding from management, staff, students and parents/caregivers • good communication to and from staff, students, board and the community • Example of good communication • ensure all staff are clear about who is responsible (and accountable) for what • remind staff regularly why good attendance is so important • give attendance management a consistently high profile in your meetings and reviews

  9. Why so many codes?

  10. What is the rationale behind the statistics? • Many New Zealand schools have high rates of non attendance • The Minister of Education has approved a five year plan to reduce truancy • This focus is expected to have beneficial flow-on effects, on student retention and achievement • The comprehensive tool set in eAR will allow schools to analyse the factors that influence student attendance • In turn, this will enable schools to take appropriate corrective action

  11. Original excuse notes (2) • Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels. • Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had diahre dyrea direathe the shts. • Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak. • Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday. • Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

  12. Do the statistics offer new ways of looking at attendance • • The analysis not only provides traditional details about variation in attendance by days of the week and times of the year, gender, year-level and ethnicity, but for all schools can provide comparative analysis across teachers and subjects (secondary) • Positive endorsement from Te Kotahitanga Research staff working with Russell Bishop

  13. Analysis criteria Analysis can be done on virtually any combination of the following parameters: 1. Date Range 2. Whole School (Y/N) 3. Year Level 4. Form Class (Tutor group) 5. Student 6. Room number (Home room) 7. Subject 8. Teacher 9. Subject Class 10. Gender 11. Ethnicity

  14. Analysis examples

  15. Analysis examples

  16. Analysis examples

  17. What does a school do that doesn’t want to use eAR? • They continue with the use of the E19/1 roll registers • Note that all permissions to use the alternative attendance register have been rescinded

  18. Is a computer needed in every room? • • It would be good to be in that situation, but many schools are not there yet and it’s not essential • A school’s process to capture attendance needs to accommodate the availability of computers, the school’s geography, the use (or non-use) of an attendance data operator etc

  19. Truancy comparisons from England • • In 2005 the secondary school truancy rate in England was 1.8% • In 2006 New Zealand’s rate was more than 8% although our inclusion of intermittent truancy boosted this figure • At some point in the year, just over 25% of students in England were truant – the average duration of the truancy (for the year) was 7 days • In New Zealand we don’t yet have comparative figures

  20. Targets • Schools in England are legally required to set attendance targets (Sep 07) • The MoE has a five year target to reduce truancy • In England nearly 50% of all truancy can be attributed to less than 2% of students • In New Zealand we don’t yet have this information, but if our figures are similar, we can drastically reduce truancy by targeting a small number of students

  21. Year 9 Attendance and year 11 achievement • • In England two critical thresholds were identified as significant predictors for examination success in year 11 • ▫ More than 37 half-days of absence in year 9 • ▫ More than 10 half-days of truancy in year 9

  22. Examination year attendance • For girls to have a 50% probability of achieving 5 or more GCSEs of grades A—C a minimum attendance of 97% was required • For boys the figure was 98% • In New Zealand we don’t yet have equivalent figures

  23. What is the Ministry doing? • • The following documents are available offering support to schools on the management of student attendance, and specifically to assist them in the introduction of electronic attendance registers • Guidelines on attendance and truancy • Electronic attendance register (eAR) frequently asked questions • Sample policies • Sample protocols • Best practice tips • Case studies for primary and for secondary schools

  24. The forgetful staff member • Every school has one or two (or more) of these and what these teachers often don’t appreciate is the extra work they cause. • Two teachers, each missing 5 periods of attendance recording in one day, could create 250 attendance ‘blanks’ that someone has to follow up. • The people who have to do their work for them include: ▪ Attendance officer or form teacher ▪ Deans ▪ DP or AP • The missing data also contributes to inaccurate school statistics

  25. What can be done? • Ensure the school process is teacher friendly • All staff need to appreciate the reasons forgood attendance • Use the built-in alerts in eAR • Make the ‘forgetful’ staff aware of otherpeople having to carry their responsibilities • Include the requirement to complete attendance recording every period as part of performance appraisal • If nothing else works, consider a disciplinary letter

  26. Interim Musac solution • • Musac Symphony attendance is eAR approved but not yet available to schools because: • ▫ The Symphony Suite is on a new development platform and some schools may require a technical tune up to use it • • In the meantime: • ▫ Absences V3.15 will enable schools to move to the 2008 codes and this is out now • ▫ Absences 6, V3.7.9 includes codes and statistical reporting, is noticeably faster/slicker, has been approved by the Ministry for eAR approval (Updated July 08). This will be available to schools using Student Manager in Term 3