In this longitudinal study, we investigated the use of attendance during middle school as a behavioral indicator of engagement to predict whether students are on track toward high school graduation. We used administrative data from four cohorts of students in New York City schools (N= 303,845) to (a) explore patterns of change in attendance between Grades 4 and 8 and (b) determine the extent to which changes in attendance between Grades 4 and 8 predict which students are on track in Grade 9 for going on to graduate from high school. Results of latent growth modeling indicated that students demonstrate the most substantial declines in attendance during Grade 8 and that attendance changes are most variable in this year, with some students demonstrating much more dramatic declines than others. In addition, these changes in attendance were robust predictors of whether students were on track for high school graduation. To identify students who are at risk for not graduating for the purposes of providing appropriate interventions, educators should pay attention to their commonly collected data on attendance rates as a behavioral indicator of engagement.
- Middle school
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology