Regular attendance to school has always been important and a factor that leads to success. Now that schools across America are focusing on 21st century skills—those skills that prepare our students for living in the 21st century—attendance is even more important. Many have defined the needed skills, and everyone agrees that our students need the ability to lead, work with a team, collaborate on projects, and cooperate with others. Teachers are providing opportunities that require these skills in nearly every subject. It is easy to see that absences affect students even more when their classes are working on group projects that require teams to collaborate with one another.
A typical project might have students investigating the pros and cons of a new technology such as the 4K Ultra HD television format. Some students might be asked to investigate the benefits of converting to the 4K Ultra HD television. Another group might investigate the risks and costs. Yet another group might look into the current technologies such as the LED and plasma televisions that might become obsolete because of the new technology. The end goal could be to come together as a group to discuss what each group learned and make a decision about whether the new technology is worth the risks associated with its use. If this project takes place over a period of three days in class and your child misses class all three days, he really cannot make up the work. If he is not there for the first day of instruction, he may be confused about what is going on when he returns. If he is not there for the second or third day, his group might be frustrated because he is not there to do his share of the work. His teacher has to decide how to give him a grade for the project given that he missed so much of it.
Students with good attendance typically have better grades, and absences have always been a problem. With the emphasis on the 21st century skills of collaboration, teamwork, and cooperation, attendance may become even more critical for success.