by Roy Sandoval
payson high school principal
Did you know that student attendance from kindergarten through eighth grade is one of the critical factors in predicting whether or not a student will graduate from high school?
Recent research by the Rodel Foundation concluded that student pathway toward high school graduation are determined by a number of factors that are established very early in their educational career.
Researchers studied predominant factors in kindergarten through eighth grade and ninth through twelfth grade to determine common predictors. Students with potential for dropping out showed significant differences in reading, writing and mathematics achievement, beginning in the first grade.
As well, behavior and grade retention were significant factors. However, one of the strongest predictors was that of attendance. Students who dropped out of high school were found to miss a whopping average of 124 days of school between kindergarten and eighth grade!
One of the major shifts between K-8 and high school is the notion of "earning" credits to graduate. Throughout their elementary years, students can be moved from one grade to the next, based upon academic progress and whether or not the team of teachers, parents and principal feel the child can be successful at the next grade level.
In contrast, high school students must pass each class with a "D" or better to "earn" twenty-two credits. As well, they must pass standardized competency tests called the AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) in reading, writing and mathematics to graduate. This represents a huge change from their previous nine years of education.
The bottom line: Attendance in each class, each and every day, is a critical component in graduating from high school. Attendance habits are established early and tend to continue throughout your child's educational career.
If you want your child to be successful in school, the research says to get them there every day and establish good habits. By the way, future employers will thank you for a work force with good attendance habits.
It's interesting how research often validates what we already observe. The Rodel study is available online and very readable.
Whether you are the parent of a first-grader or a high school student, it is well worth your time.
The study can be accessed at www.west.asu.edu/rodel Click on "Research" then "Drop Out Study, Executive Summary."
Let's all work together at giving our Payson kids a vision for their future and the tools to make it happen.