Multi-Faceted Measures of Attendance

from Dr. Steven Guttentag
Chief Education Officer at Connections Academy

In a brick-and-mortar school, daily attendance is generally measured by seat time – that is, was Johnny in school today? Attendance within a virtual school is a more complex endeavor – especially when our program includes schools in several different states. The first step is in how we define "attendance." There are several ways that you can measure attendance that go beyond a recording of just being present. Connections Academy has built in multiple metrics to measure attendance so that the resulting data can be triangulated to provide the highest level of accountability. The three key attendance measures that we use are:

  1. Seat time: Our Learning Coaches or parents check off daily attendance just like a classroom teacher would in a traditional school.
  2. Time On Task: Our curriculum specialists assign a time value with each lesson so that lessons completed = time on task. Teachers can then adjust that value for individual students based on their learning pace.
  3. Lesson Completion: Courses are made up of individual lessons. Each time a student completes a lesson it is checked off by the Learning Coach or parent, hence a student who has completed 60 out of 120 lessons during the first semester of school can be considered to have 100% attendance.

By measuring attendance through these variables, we are able to meet the regulatory needs of multiple states without creating separate attendance systems for each virtual school.