CPS Announces Record-High Attendance Rate

The attendance rate for CPS students grew to 93.4 percent in 2015-16, an increase of 0.2 percent over the previous year’s total, which district officials say equates to an additional two hours of instruction time per student over the course of the year. (Argonne National Laboratory / Flickr)

Chicago Public Schools students attended class at a record-high level last school year, according to new data released by the district.

The attendance rate for CPS students grew to 93.4 percent in 2015-16, an increase of 0.2 percent over the previous year’s total, which district officials say equates to an additional two hours of instruction time per student over the course of the year.

“This year and every year, the city of Chicago comes together to remind students and families in every neighborhood of the importance of being in school prepared for learning on day one, and every school day after that,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release. “Chicago’s students are making monumental progress in the classroom – with record-setting gains in math and reading, and more students graduating college-ready than ever before. To continue this progress, our goal this year is that every student arrives prepared for success from day one.”

CPS calculates attendance rates based on total school days enrolled compared to total school days attended. For the 2015-16 school year, CPS students attended 60,144,603 days out of a possible 64,367,292 total membership days, for a rate of 93.4 percent. A year earlier, CPS students attended 61,087,158 days out of 65,526,126 total membership days, equaling a rate of 93.2 percent.

The district had previously said it set a record for first day attendance last school year.

Fourth-graders set the highest attendance rate of any grade within CPS last year at 95.9 percent, while 12th-graders set the lowest rate at 87.5 percent.

District data shows the attendance rate has risen consistently since 2008 when it stood at 90 percent. CPS credits that, in part, to an attendance plan it put into place during the 2012-13 school year that called for collaboration between students, parents, school staff and the district.

Since then, chronic absenteeism – defined at students who miss 18 or more days during the school year – has dropped 5.3 percent across CPS schools, according to the district.

“As a former principal, I can say from experience that when students and their families prioritize school attendance, it translates directly into improved student achievement, and the research clearly shows that the more you come to school, the better you do,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a press release. “The District’s efforts and focus on attendance are clearly paying off and our job as a District is to continue to help students remain in the classroom and remove barriers to regular attendance so that our students can continue to build on their academic success.”

Districtwide attendance data can be found under the "metrics" tab here.

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