New research shows how teachers are key to boosting student attendance


By Matt Barnum


The paper, by Brown University’s Susanna Loeb and Jing Liu, is the latest effort by researchers to understand what makes a good teacher without relying solely on test scores, usually the most readily available metric.

Loeb and Liu examined attendance data from tens of thousands of middle and high school students across several years in one (anonymous) city in California. They had access to granular information about each class a student was scheduled to attend, allowing them to link a given teacher to students’ presence. That matters because whether a student is absent isn’t always a yes or no question, since students often skip single classes.