The Importance of Using School Attendance Software

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Electronic technology has made tracking tasks of all levels of challenge and complication easier. Accuracy is increased and the time it takes to perform such tasks is minimized. Such tracking adds efficiency to any system and will often enhance the goal of the exercise. Learn about The Importance of Using School Attendance Software.

Regular school attendance is essential to the learning process from kindergarten through high school graduation. Students who are frequently absent put their educational process in great jeopardy. Chronic absenteeism, especially truancy, is largely associated with school dropout. Efforts to improve school attendance are one giant step forward to a safe and healthy school. Schools that formulate a challenging program of studies and reinforce high expectations for not only academics but for social responsibility and behavior in school will give students the motivation to attend class regularly. Truancy is defined as being absent from school without good reason whether or not the parent or guardian approves of the absence or not.

What is School Attendance Software?

Attendance software is designed to manage all attendance requirements of public and private educational facilities. The software is used to track attendance, including absences, tardiness and early dismissals, as well as producing daily, weekly, monthly, semester end and year end reports. For high school and middle school students, it is sometimes advantageous to track attendance by period. Another feature is the ability to send warning notes to students and their parents or guardians when absence or tardiness has reached a certain level.

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When using attendance tracking software it is essential a plan is put in place for its use with set policies as to how the system is to be used. As helpful as such software is it is important all involved track attendance in the same manner, or the results may be misleading and inconsistent. For instance, if attendance is taken at the beginning of class and a student marked absent arrives late and the absent is not changed to tardy, the absent rate will be inflated and when analyzing the overall numbers incorrect conclusions may result.

Students who tend toward late arrival to school during the primary years are at risk for extending tardiness to being absent during the secondary school years. Tracking attendance and identifying trends will help school officials to take the appropriate corrective action to reinforce attendance at school.

Benefits of using school attendance software

Using attendance software allows teachers to input the necessary information directly into the system. This assures school officials of greater reliability when analyzing data and identifying trends. The software minimizes the time it takes to submit attendance data and allows school officials to send an electronic message to parents, or the designated guardian, of the absence. Of course there will be a learning curve when such software is put in place, but once implemented and with some experience using the system classroom administrative time can be reduced by as much as 40%. Electronic attendance data tracking can also include the number of times a student has report to the nurse’s office because of illness and note a student’s medical needs and medication they may be taking.

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Using such an attendance tracker allows the schools to generate details and reports almost immediately and distribute the information to all concerned, along with the pertinent detail. This allows for the necessary actions to be taken as soon as possible to change the attendance culture of an individual student or a group of students. The attendance task has come a long way from the days of tracking such data by hand and passing the information to a designated person who analyzes the data and sends the results to all concerned, which could take days and not necessarily include the detail needed to prepare the optimum corrective plan.

Attendance trackers allow school officials to analyze the data quicker and identify trends in absenteeism and tardiness and whether the trends are divided equally between boys and girls or if the trend is more prominent with one group over the other. Other areas of attendance analysis may also include if absenteeism occurs on a particular day of the week, on days a certain school activity takes place, on days a particular teacher conducts a class or the trends of a particular age group. Identifying trends gives school officials the necessary data to establish an action plan and work to minimize negative attendance habits.

An electronic attendance system removes the possibility of data getting lost, stolen or misfiled. Paper attendance sheets have a much higher probability of suffering the lost, stolen or misplaced fate and delaying the analysis process and rendering the repots less reliable than they should be. Attendance software is an important component not just for monitoring attendance. The data can be used to analyze other educational activities such as reporting effort and achievement and their correlation to student grades.

The Importance of Tracking Attendance

The learning process begins before kindergarten and students who arrive at kindergarten with a strong set of learning skills will see the benefits of those skills erode if too many days of kindergarten and first grade are missed. According to a study by Applied Survey Research and Attendance Works, the reading ability of the student will be compromised by the completion of third grade. It is essential students begin their educational adventure ready to learn and ready to attend classes on a regular basis in order to maximize the learning experience.

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Even at an early age attendance tracking is essential to identify students who may be compromising their educational benefits by missing school too often. Attendance tracking is essential in order to follow up with the student’s absence. If truancy is a problem, school officials can take corrective action. If the absence is related to a health issue, the necessary steps can be taken to make sure the student receives the appropriate auxiliary learning tools to keep up with their studies. It is important to note education sometimes has to deviate from the normal, school standard to accommodate a student who does not fit the standard student profile.

An electronic attendance tracking system will be able to follow the student as they move through the educational system. This is especially important for school districts that have a tiered educational program or if a student transfer to a different school within the district if their residential location changes. This allows school administrators to identify changes in a student’s attendance habits or if attendance habits have changed due to corrective action. It also demonstrates a student’s consistency with attendance. If a student moves out the district to another town or state, the students data can be sent to the new system and allow them to continue the attendance monitoring process and not have to begin at square one.

Two Way Communications

The best school attendance software will utilize two way communications between teachers and school administration. It allows greater efficiency, reliability and precision of keeping attendance records. Two way communications will allow the office administrators the ability to revise the daily attendance record of students who arrive through the office. This is important if a student arrives late to school for any reason, whether it is planned or sudden and that reason can be noted on the student’s electronic record. The school administrator can update the absence to tardy. The administrator can also check to make sure a student is scheduled for early dismissal for any reason and note when a student leaves class early because of illness. This ability helps keep attendance up to date and consistent and when. The shared platform keeps everyone on the same page and reliably accounts for the student’s location at any time during the school day. When the data is used to generate reports it is precise and reliable and staff will be able to develop corrective action plans with confidence.

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Attendance, Attendance Improvement Plans and Action Plans

One of the goals to tracking a student’s attendance at school is to make sure problem areas in attendance are identified. Along with tracking attendance and identifying problem areas there should be an improvement plan to address the negative attendance issues. It cannot be stressed enough that there is a correlation between regular attendance and better grades. Social and school responsibility is a byproduct of regular school attendance. Knowing a student’s attendance habits are not enough. There has to be a plan in place to reinforce regular school attendance. There should also be a plan in place to make sure students with good attendance records continue to attend school regularly. The only exception to the attendance policy is for students with medical conditions.

There is no magic bullet nor is there a one size fits all action plan to improve school attendance. There are as many reasons to miss school as there are students who miss school. There is a percentage of students who miss school because they feel overwhelmed with their course of studies, hate to do homework, do not understand school policy, dislike a certain subject or teacher, do not get along well with other students, feel bullied by certain students or do not have the reinforcement at home that education is an important building block in life. School absenteeism could also be the result of substance abuse or lack of supervision at home, lack of child care at home requiring older siblings to stay at home with the younger children.

Tracking attendance and following up on absences will give school administrators the ability to establish the necessary corrective plans to address poor attendance records. Addressing attendance issues has to be a partnership with the school administration, the student and the student’s parents or guardian. Once the issue of poor attendance is identified everyone must admit there is a problem and a solution is necessary to correct the situation. If one or more of the participants does not see the problem, exacting a resolution will be more difficult.

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The attendance records will also identify attendance trends among any number of students and the school administrators will be able to establish a clearly defined action plan tailored to an individual student or a group of students. Sometimes the solution is making corrections to the course of studies or the policies within the school system and sometimes it is instituting extracurricular activities to generate more interest in the educational process.

Tracking attendance will allow school officials determine how well the corrective action plans are working and when their might need to be a change made in the plans. As society and the course of education changes, what works today may not work as well tomorrow. Strategies to encourage attendance must change with the times and the question for everybody, school administration and parents alike, “how are we contributing to school absenteeism and how can we work with parents, students and the community at large to make sure students stay engaged with education and continue to learn what they need to know to be successful in life.”

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To reinforce attendance in school, the school administration and parents must see to it that students receive the support they need and are coupled with high expectations, design a climate that is caring and respectful of the student and require students to return that respect to fellow students, teachers and administrative staff, create a learning atmosphere that is challenging and relevant, give the student a feeling of acceptance and belonging, creating a personalized learning environment when it is appropriate and intervening with appropriate action when necessary.

School Attendance Wrap Up

There are many reasons a student will miss school. Some reasons are of his or her own selection and other reasons are beyond his or her control. It does not matter why the student is absent from school, the reason must be uncovered and addressed. Tracking a student’s attendance at school will be the key to finding the right solution to keep the student engaged and willing to make the effort to attend class regularly. A student who attends classes regularly and applies what they have learned will have a solid foundation for the future.

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