Tracking Off-Site Attendance

Students at our school participate in a number of before-school and after-school programs, some on campus and others off-campus, sponsored by other agencies. We believe that attending these programs has a positive impact on student performance, but do not have any data to back this up. The other agencies are willing to work with us to gather attendance information, but tabulating and cross-referencing sign-in sheets is a nightmare! Is there a way to do this electronically?

Collecting and analyzing this kind of data can be problematic. Sign-in sheets aren’t always accurate and, don’t necessarily reflect the amount of time students actually spent in various programs. But there is a relatively inexpensive technology that can be used to collect more accurate information at multiple locations. It requires that each site have a card reader and that every student receive a special identification card.

Students swipe their cards when they arrive and again when they leave. This attendance information can be accessed by the district’s student information system, enabling you to look at the impact of program participation in relationship to the criteria you identify, such as school attendance, grades, or test scores.

The cost can be as low as $3000 per site for the necessary hardware along with an annual software subscription fee. You might suggest that each participating agency purchase its own hardware because they will be able to use the resulting aggregate data for their own grant proposals and evaluation reports.

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