A report from ScholarChip suggests that automating student attendance could help K12 school districts to improve state financial aid by increasing Average Daily Attendance (ADA) accuracy.
ScholarChip provides a one-card identity and attendance platform for K12 schools using passive, ISO-standard contactless ID cards that draw power from the reader. The company suggests that even a 1% modification to attendance policies can impact funding for education by freeing up to $1 million dollars per year, depending on the state and school district.
Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is calculated by taking the aggregate number of days attended of all students during a school year, divided by the number of days school is in session during that year. This task falls to teachers, and if they don’t know if a student is expected to be late, is in the nurse’s office, is at an off-campus event, or has another scheduled issue, that student could be mistakenly marked absent. These types of miscounts happen all the time, and the cost adds up.
Calculating the cost
In Texas, for example, the average school district can contain some 28,000 students and 1,600 teachers in 35 schools. It’s a significant undertaking for teachers to count that many students by hand, and there is a reasonable chance that mistakes will be made. Add the fact that there are 180 teaching days, and the potential for inaccuracy only grows.
Last year, The Dallas Morning News reported that, “Texas schools are spending an average $9,559 per student in the current school year.” The National Education Association of Texas says these funds are received from a number of sources, including local property taxes, and the State and Federal government. The State of Texas provides 40% of that expenditure.
$9,559 x 40% = $3,824 per student received from the State of Texas
In a normal year the absentee rate could range between 5% and 18%. On average, that means approximately 11.5% of students are out of school.
28,000 x 11.5% = 3,220 students
28,000 – 3,220 = 24,780
For 24,780 students that are in school, it can be said that teachers consistently mark 1% of students absent by mistake:
24,780 x 1% = 247.8
247.8 x $3,824 per student = $947,587 lost annually
If an average school district increases ADA accuracy by only 1%, it can yield almost $1 million in extra revenue for the year — funds that could be spent on other academic expenses that a district or school might have.