Attendance matters!  Daily attendance and engagement in learning is essential to student success at all grade levels.  Colorado law directly connected to attendance focuses on compulsory school attendance, truancy and school finance. Important student attendance definitions of rates and terms include: 

Truancy is an unexcused absence.  The rate is calculated by dividing the reported Total Student Days Unexcused Absences by the Total Student Days Possible. 

Habitually Truant (Student Count): A student is counted as habitually truant if the student has four unexcused absences in one month and/or 10 absences in one school year. 

Chronically Absent: A student absent 10 percent or more of the days enrolled during the school year is chronically absent. All absences are included – unexcused, excused, and suspensions.  The rate is the percentage of students enrolled who are chronically absent.


Attendance is important at all levels within the K-12 education system.  For preschool, students with good attendance develop skills and good attendance habits to prepare for kindergarten. By third grade, children who missed too much of kindergarten and 1st grade fall behind in reading.  Chronic absenteeism in middle school is a warning sign that students are on a path to disengagement and dropping out. In ninth grade, attendance is a clear predictor, more than test scores, that a student will leave before completing high school.

Improving school attendance and addressing chronic absenteeism aligns with the Colorado Department of Education's (CDE) mission and strategic plan.  In Colorado in 2021-22, 1 in 3 students was chronically absent.