Making the Case for Results-Based Accountability as an Intervention for Chronic Absenteeism in Schools to Improve Attendance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Race and Justice

Publication Date


Date Added



Chronic absenteeism has been indicated to put over 6 million students at the risk of numerous negative short- and long-term outcomes, such as academic failure, dropping out of school, long-term health issues, unemployment, and exposure to the juvenile justice system. Research presents a clear case that the use of zero tolerance policies, such as suspension and expulsion, contributes significantly to the rates of chronic absenteeism among students of color. When students of color are absent from school, regardless of the reason for the absences, it presents significant barriers to equitable and effective instruction, undermines stable learning environments, and inhibits students’ success. Chronic absence can be reduced when schools work with families and communities to track attendance data, create welcoming school environments, and implement strategies to address barriers to attendance. Results-based accountability (RBA) is a measure of accountability that has successfully been used to improve the performance of school districts, programs, agencies, municipalities, and service systems. This article presents a case for RBA to be considered as a standard measure of accountability for schools, districts, and agencies in their efforts to improve school attendance. This article also provides recommendations and implications for practice, policy, education, and research.






Social Work