School Districts

Address Chronic Absenteeism with Ed-Fi

Identify trends and intervene earlier with accurate, real-time attendance data.

Absences Have Long-Term Consequences

Chronic absenteeism is like compound interest. Students who are chronically absent, meaning they miss at least 15 days of school for any reason, are at serious risk of falling further and further behind academically and facing increasingly significant challenges year over year. Whether students miss critical early learning milestones like reading at grade level or instructional time during middle and high school, it greatly increases their likelihood of dropping out.

Students Are Chronically Absent

Recent national data indicates that over 7 million students missed 15 or more days of school.

More Likely to Drop Out

One year of chronic absenteeism between 8th and 12th grade results in a seven-fold increase in drop out likelihood.

Of K-1st Students are Chronically Absent

Chronically absent students are less likely to read at grade level by the third grade, increasing their risk of dropping out.

Kelly Staley

Chico Unified School District • Superintendent

"Our community has lived through catastrophic wildfires on top of the challenges associated with COVID. Understanding the physical as well as the academic, social and emotional needs of our families, continues to be a critical role for our school district. The standardization of our data has helped us to better assess and address the needs of our students, thus allowing us to get them the support they need."

Common Questions Before You Get Started

  • How much will this cost?

    All Ed-Fi technology and resources are available at no cost.

  • How much time will this take?

    We recommend starting with a prototype, or a test model, that will take a few hours to create. This will allow you to have a clickable solution with sample data, so you can visualize the tool and see how it would work in your own district. Pulling in your district’s data sets can take a longer to set up depending on multiple factors.

  • What district systems will be involved?

    The only source system you’ll need is your Student Information Systems (SIS).

  • Who (and what roles) should be involved?

    We recommend forming a core team of champions to solve this chronic absenteeism problem with data:

    – Program and Data Leads – Central office departments like Accountability or

    – Learning & Teaching Campus Leads – Principals and registrars or attendance staff

    – IT Leads – System administrators and SIS administrators

  • What district technology will I need?

    To start your prototype, or sample environment, you’ll need an installation of Windows Server with administrative access and internet access. This can be a virtual machine on your own system, or you can ask your IT support to provide a base Windows instance.

Get Started with Ed-Fi: Addressing Chronic Absenteeism

Use our step-by-step implementation guide to tackle absenteeism in your district. Our goal is to make implementing Ed-Fi as simple and straightforward as possible, so you can start seeing results and improving student outcomes right off the bat.

Option 1

Do It Yourself

Our Chronic Absenteeism Starter Kit provides a step-by-step guide for both technical and non-technical district leaders to use together. With the starter kit, you and your team can learn how to implement Ed-Fi specifically to address chronic absenteeism. The guide follows seven steps, summarized below.

Step 1


In this step, you will run a simple installation script for a sample application and verify the installation completed successfully.

Step 2


In this step, you’ll complete initial configuration of the sample application and connect Tableau reports to the database installed in the previous step.

Step 3

View Reports

In this step, you’ll familiarize yourself with data and visualizations that support chronic absenteeism use cases in a sample application.

Step 4

Install Your Own Test Environment

In this step you will install all of the components of your Ed-Fi solution summarized in the Quick Start section to start creating your district’s test environment for your own chronic absenteeism solution.

Step 5

Load Test Data

In this step you will load your district’s own data from your SIS to the ODS API so it can be accessed by Tableau in your test environment.

Step 6


In this step you will configure and use the data visualizations and reports included in this chronic absenteeism starter kit in your own test environment with your district’s data.

Step 7


Now that you have created a test environment, you can use it to:

  • Verify functionality and support from key systems
  • Understand what resources and technical skills you need
  • Test this solution with your key audience in a pilot
  • Plan and then conduct a production rollout of your solution.
Get the Starter Kit

Option 2

Working With Tech Vendors

Step 1

Education Technology Vendors

Vendors are an important part to bring the benefits of interoperability to your district. It is always a best practice to communicate early and often with all of your vendors that provide you with systems, like SIS and assessment vendors. Make sure these vendor-types are part of your planning process.

Step 2

System Integrators

While each school district is different and has varying in-house resources and timelines, some districts have had success by working with a system integrator that is familiar with Ed-Fi. In any instance, you will need to have a working understanding of the milestones and pre-work necessary for a successful implementation but a system integrator can help you along the way.

Contact us for a list of Systems Integrators that may be available to help you.

Step 3

Managed Hosting Providers

There are several vendors that now offer differentiated Ed-Fi software as a service (Saas) or Platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. These offerings range from implementing and onboarding your district, providing you with a platform experience with Ed-Fi native tools and value added tools they provide, technical support, analytics and data visualization capabilities, etc. Providers that have badged their solution offerings are published on the Ed-Fi Tech Docs site. Once you get an account you’ll have full access to this list.

Step 4

Cloud Providers

You may have the technical capability in-house to stand up your Ed-Fi implementation with the help of a cloud provider. All of the major cloud hosting platforms have templatized deployment options for deploying Ed-Fi technology tools that can help you get started fairly quickly. Including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Inteport via Azure Marketplace.

Contact Ed-Fi

Option 3

Share with a Colleague

Want to start your Ed-Fi journey but need to get other teammates involved? Send them an email with a link to this page to share this important information with them and start building your data team.

Send Email

We’re here to help.

The Ed-Fi team is standing by. Reach out to us at anytime.

Sean Casey

Manager, Strategic Partnerships