Every school day counts

According to estimates, five to ten percent of all students in Germany are regularly absent from class, and almost six leave school without graduating. What can schools do to combat absenteeism and dropout - this question was the focus of the "Every School Day Counts" project.

At a glance

Traditionally, school absenteeism has been viewed as a problem under school law, punished by sanctions and coercive measures. However, it is much more important to strengthen attendance and participation in lessons and school life and to pursue an effective approach to absenteeism.

From 2019 to 2022, the elementary school Neugraben, the elementary school Großlohering, the elementary and district school Altrahlstedt, and the district school Süderelbe, under the leadership of the nationally recognized absenteeism researcher Professor Heinrich Ricking and a team from the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, tested effective and practical strategies against academic failure and thus increased the attendance rates of their students.

Causes and forms of truancy

Truancy is a technical term that describes all problem situations and behavior patterns in which students are absent from school without authorization. Truancy is multifaceted and can be divided into three forms:

  • Aversive truancy: Truancy involves sitting out of class in favor of a more pleasurable activity, especially outside the home during the morning, and the student:s often have developed dismissive thoughts and feelings about school.
  • Anxiety-related school avoidance: Anxiety-related school avoidance implies that the student:s avoid school because of their experience of anxiety. This form is often accompanied by concrete factors (e.g., bullying or fear of failure) as well as psychosomatic complaints.
  • Withholding by legal guardians: In the case of truancy with parental tolerance or withholding, the decisive criterion is the consent, support or tolerance of the legal guardians for the absence from school.









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