It sounds like you are asking to pull information (via the portal) that is housed in a table that is not directly linked to your table. ss_number is housed in the student information table which is linked only indirectly to the date of class table. I think filemaker should be able to do this, however you may need a refresh script, or make sure everything is indexed...... But why don't you just link the tables to each other directly, via the student_id or via name. That way entering in a name will display all appropriate fields via the portal from the student information database.
When you populate the student ID in the Attendance table, you should then be able to put fields from the student table in your Attendance portal and display the correct information. You don't necessarily need to copy the SSN from student to attendance, you can display it directly from the related student.
Your relationships as described sound OK. If you do want the SSN to copy over, set its auto-entry options to a calculation or lookup from students.
Thank you guys so much. This fixed the problem.... I had to set the fields to auto-entry from the related records... worked like a charm.
I owe ya one.:smileyhappy: