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ERIC Number: ED524126
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 274
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-8439-9
The Absence of Presence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Indicated Interventions to Increase Student Attendance
Maynard, Brandy R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Loyola University Chicago
School absenteeism and truancy have been of concern to schools, courts, communities and researchers since compulsory education laws were first put into effect. Despite the attention given to this problem and significant effort aimed at improving student attendance, school absenteeism remains a serious problem. A number of qualitative reviews of attendance interventions have attempted to summarize the extant research; however, there are a number of limitations to utilizing qualitative reviews to synthesize and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention research. The present study utilized systematic review methods and meta-analysis to quantitatively synthesize research and systematically examine the effects of indicated intervention programs on school attendance behaviors of elementary and secondary school students. A comprehensive search strategy resulted in the identification 11 randomized studies, 9 quasi-experimental studies and 13 single group pre-post test studies that met criteria for inclusion in the current study. Effect sizes as well as study, participant, and intervention characteristics were coded and analyzed. Analysis of the randomized and quasi-experimental studies was performed separately from the single group pre-post test studies due to methodological differences. The meta-analytic findings showed overall positive and moderate effects of indicated attendance interventions on attendance outcomes. There was, however, significant heterogeneity found between studies indicating significant variability in effect sizes. Moderator analyses were conducted to examine potential variables related to study, participant and intervention characteristics that may explain the variability in effect sizes. Behavioral interventions were found to be more effective than other interventions and, when combined with parental interventions, demonstrated greater effects than behavioral interventions alone. Attendance groups were also found to be effective, especially when combined with attendance monitoring and contracting/awards. Court-based, school-based and clinic-based programs produced similar effects. The available evidence did not support the use of family therapy or mentoring interventions for indicated students. Although multi-modal or collaborative programs are often recommended in the literature and commonly believed to be best practice, the findings of this meta-analysis did not support their use over more simple, non-collaborative interventions. Although the interventions demonstrated a moderate mean effect, the mean absence rates at post-test for the majority of the studies remained above 10%; thus it appears that the majority of interventions are falling short in their attempts to improve student attendance to the point of achieving an acceptable level of regular attendance. In addition, several study characteristics demonstrated a relationship with effect size, thus methodological features may be confounded with substantive variables used in the moderator analyses. In addition to evaluating the effects of interventions, this systematic review and meta-analysis uncovered a number of methodological shortcomings, absence of important variables and data as well as gaps in the evidence base. The author questions and calls for a critical analysis of the practices, assumptions and social-political context underlying the extant evidence base. Implications for practice, policy and research are discussed as well as limitations of the present study. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A