Chronic absenteeism rate decreases to 23.9% for Mississippi school districts in 2022-23

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The number of students chronically absent from school during the 2022-2023 academic year was slightly higher than the state average for Brookhaven, and below the state average for Lincoln County schools.

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has released the most recent school and district chronic absence data report, which shows 23.9% of Mississippi public school students were chronically absent in 2022-23, a decrease from 28% in 2021-22.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% (18 days) of the school year for any reason, which includes excused and unexcused absences and suspensions. Chronic absence differs from Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which is the average number of enrolled students who attend school each day. A school’s ADA often masks issues surrounding the number of students who are chronically absent.

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In the Brookhaven School District, 672 of 2,704 students (24.85%) were considered chronically absent during the 2022-2023 school year. The number is slightly above the state average.

In the Lincoln County School District for the 2022-2023 academic year, 544 of 2,931 students (18.56%) were chronically absent. This is noticeably below the state average.

Statewide, during the 2022-23 school year, 108,310 of Mississippi public school students were chronically absent compared to 128,275 students in 2021-22. The rates steadily decreased for all K-12 grades in 2022-23. The chronic absenteeism rate in K-5 elementary schools was highest for kindergarten at 26.4%. The chronic absenteeism rate for grades 6-8 was highest in grade 8 at 25.4% and highest in grades 9-12 in grade 12 at 39.5%.

MDE began reporting chronic absence data in 2016. The lowest rate of 13% was in 2018-19. The COVID-19 pandemic is believed to be the major factor that led to higher 2021-22 state and national rates.

“Seeing Mississippi’s chronic absenteeism rate decrease is a welcomed sign that more students are getting the instruction needed to succeed in the classroom,” said Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education. “The MDE encourages schools, districts, parents and students to keep making regular attendance a priority.”

This month, MDE launched an attendance awareness campaign — Every School Day Counts – Attend to Achieve — to help combat chronic absenteeism in the state. The campaign highlights the benefits of regular school attendance and emphasizes ways to prevent students from being chronically absent. Beyond September, MDE plans to continue promoting ways to address chronic absenteeism.

View the complete 2022-23 Chronic Absenteeism Report HERE.