By the numbers - Truancy

31st January 2014 at 00:00

Tackling truancy has a dramatic impact on student attainment, a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found.

High-performing school systems, such as those in Japan and in Shanghai, China, have relatively low truancy rates, according to the OECD, which runs the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

On average, 18 per cent of students skipped at least one class and 15 per cent missed an entire day in the two weeks before the last round of Pisa tests in 2012, the report says. In Argentina, more than 40 per cent of students missed at least one day, while just 0.6 per cent in Shanghai skipped a day.

The OECD report shows that, on average, children who skipped one or two days of school in the two weeks before the tests gained scores of 52 points lower than those who did not miss any school in that time.

Pisa has found that schools can help to reduce truancy by improving the disciplinary climate in classrooms. Students who got on with their teachers and felt they were listened to were less likely to play truant.

Maths scores of non-truants and truants

Mean score of students who were ever-present in the two weeks before the Pisa tests, compared with the mean score of those who skipped one or two days

Argentina

404 - 391

Australia

519 - 482

Germany

520 - 474

Hong Kong

566 - 499

Israel

476 - 460

Japan

539 - 461

South Korea

556 - 433

Shanghai, China

614 - 532

Sweden

485 - 423

Turkey

445 - 443

UK

502 - 469

US

488 - 467

TRUANCY BY COUNTRY

Percentage of students skipping one or two days of school in the two weeks before the Pisa tests

Argentina

41.9

Australia

25.7

Canada

18.9

Estonia

11.9

Germany

4.2

Greece

16.7

Hong Kong

3.4

Japan

1.3

Kazakhstan

17.2

Malaysia

22

New Zealand

12.9

Qatar

12.7

Russia

15.7

Shanghai, China

0.6

Singapore

12.5

Spain

24.2

UK

15.2

US

17.9

Vietnam

7.9

Source: Pisa in Focus 35, bit.lypisainfocus35jan14.

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