Oregon data: School attendance linked to test scores

Data from the Oregon Department of Education shows correlation

A file photo of a teacher pointing at an SAT exam during a prep course. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It seems easy to understand: If you don’t show up for school, you won’t do well on tests.

Read more in Tuesday’s Portland Tribune.

In Portland, some of the worst attendance records are also at the poorest performing schools. Students at Jefferson High School struggle to meet state standards, according to recently released data from the Oregon Department of Education.

Just more than half of 11th graders met the expectations for science but only 5% met the math standards. That’s the worst of any school in the city.

Experts believe the trouble could be because of how much school students miss. Nearly 30% of Jefferson students skip more than 10% of their classes.

Roosevelt High School has a worse attendance record: more than 40% miss 10% of their classes.

“It’s definitely something the district is aware of,” Portland Public Schools spokesperson David Northfield said. “Some of these families might face a variety of challenges, and the students might come from home environments that are maybe less stable that other students have.”

It’s not just an issue in Portland. Almost a quarter of students were missing 10% or more in a given school year, according to Andrew Dyke, an economist with ECONorthwest. A few years ago the firm did a study on chronic absence in Oregon and found that it did affect academic performance.

Dyke said it affect students of all demographics, but especially those living in poverty.