December 2, 2023


education gives you strength

CT education officials tracking school attendance, participation

Student participation, attendance and engagement will be among the areas of focus for a new data collection program launched earlier this month by state education officials.

The state Department of Education recently rolled out two new data collections in an effort to promote transparency and make “data-driven decisions” to support more student engagement and participation through the rest of the school year.

Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona on Friday said there will continue to be weekly collections of learning models and enrollment, as well as a monthly collections of student membership and attendance.

Schools across the state are offering a variety of options for students this school year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preventing districts from opting for usual, in-person classes.

The first round of data — which focused on learning models and enrollment — was collected from Sept. 8 through Sept. 11. It showed that hybrid learning models were offered in a majority of public schools districts and grades.

In high school-level grade, about 14 percent of district grades offered a fully in-person learning model, while nearly 78 percent offered a hybrid format, the data showed.

Fully remote learning was offered in about 6 to 8 percent of public school grades.

In the 284 districts, and approved private special education providers who reported enrolled students during that week, about 32 percent of all students were fully remote, officials said — about 162,000 out of nearly 510,000.

This data will be updated online by the state weekly for the next several weeks.

State officials will start collecting student-level attendance data for the month of September in early October.

The monthly data collection on student membership and attendance will help official track more detailed reporting of attendance by district, school and student-group.

He said this will let districts evaluate and monitor trends or concerns in attendance and participation among students.

The data will be collected regardless of how students are receiving their education — either in-person or through distance learning.

“Presence is a prerequisite for engagement, and engagement is a prerequisite for high-impact learning,” a statement from Cardona said. “During this most important school year of our lifetimes, we want to make sure all of our students are accounted for and engaged with equitable access to meaningful educational opportunities — regardless of learning model.”

He said the information collected will help officials establish system to reach and engage with all students to keep them connected with teachers.

“Information is power, which is something we have learned clearly throughout this year,” a statement from Gov. Ned Lamont said. “The more information the state has when it comes to attendance and participation, the better equipped the state will be to support our districts. This is the latest example of our agencies leading with the goal of improving outcomes.”

Cardona said the data collections should help officials better identify issues early on, and address the root causes with school staff and families. He said the state provided districts with training, support and resources to carry out the collection.

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