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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(4), 1068-1088.
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Indigenous (and all) students' school attendance: Investigating data collection methods

Lindy P. Baxter and Noel M. Meyers
La Trobe University, Australia

Indigenous students, a subgroup of the Australian student population, produce poorer educational outcomes and continue to produce persistently lower attendance rates than non-Indigenous peers. Currently, governments collect and monitor student attendance as an indicator of students' educational achievement and a key performance measure of schools for attributing school funding, and to inform future educational policy and practice. Researching urban Indigenous students' attendance, we sought comparative attendance data from previous research and government collections. Reaching back 30 years, the investigation identified a lack of complete, valid data with verified integrity at all levels of data aggregation, providing researchers with sources of often incomplete, unsuitable, or compromised attendance data. While Australian schools collect students' attendance every school day, the national attendance collection continues to collect and aggregate part-year attendance samples. Improvements in the national attendance collection are urgently needed from which robust analyses and evaluations can accurately inform policy and practice.
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Authors: Lindy P. Baxter (corresponding author, La Trobe University, Bendigo Campus) recently completed her PhD, which included published works of which this article forms part. Her work involves the systematic and systemic analysis of factors associated with raising Indigenous students' attendance and achievement in their crucial primary years.
Email: baxter.lindyp@gmail.com

Noel M. Meyers is Professor of Education and Environmental Studies, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia. Noel has worked extensively domestically and internationally to improve capacity and the capabilities of some of the least affluent people on Earth. He has earned national and international teaching accolades for his work in science education and co-authors the textbook used by more than 60% of Australia's first year biology students.
Email: noelmeyers2@gmail.com

Please cite as: Baxter, L. P. & Meyers, N. M. (2019). Indigenous (and all) students' school attendance: Investigating data collection methods. Issues in Educational Research, 29(4), 1068-1088. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/baxter.pdf

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Created 10 Oct 2019. Last correction: 10 Oct 2019.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]