Recent Trends in School Absenteeism | Interactive Information Display by David White


The Client

South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!) is a Community-Based Organization (CBO) headquartered in Queens, NY. SAYA! offers programming for students at (9) school locations in Brooklyn and Queens, NY.

In 2018-19, SAYA! worked in partnership with Richmond Hill High School to conduct interventions aimed at reducing the number of chronically absent students at the school.

The Problem

During the spring semester, Richmond Hill High School began to see an increase in school attendance rates. An analysis was needed to determine which cohorts had contributed the most to these gains and which groups were still in need of more support.

The Solution

I created the following data presentation to address the school’s needs:

Key Features & Benefits:

  • The relevant data is presented in a clear and easily accessible format. The graphic allows trends to become immediately apparent.

  • The graphic’s color-coding facilitates a drill-down analysis of each cohort of students.

The Process


In order to prepare the materials needed for this project, I completed the following steps:

☑ Talked to teachers and school leaders in order to gain a clear understanding of their needs and concerns

☑ Gathered raw data in.csv format from the school information system (SIS) and other sources

☑ Checked the raw data for errors and inconsistencies; wrangled the data into a consistent and uniform tidy data format

☑ Applied calculations and array formulas to the data set in order to calculate totals and averages by category

☑ Drew insights and initial conclusions from these calculations in an effort to inform and shape the design of the final data presentation


Having gathered and edited all needed materials, I then used Tableau software to create a data visualization which showed change over time in the school’s absenteeism. This data presentation was presented to teachers and school leaders in their weekly meeting. The information was used to help identify best practices and inform next steps for the attendance intervention program.

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