First Presenter's Institution

University of South Florida- PS/RtI Project

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Scarbrough 4

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Chronic absenteeism has been identified as a key predictor of students' graduation and dropout status. Researchers have found adverse outcomes such as decreased: academic performance, on-time graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment among chronically absent students. This proposal focuses on building educators capacity to collect and analyze parent and student provided data to develop interventions matched to student needs and therefore improve attendance and student outcomes. There is a natural overlap with the Academic Achievement and School Leadership strand that emphasizes the use of student data to improve student outcomes such as academic achievement, graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, through prevention and intervention efforts.

Brief Program Description

Each year approximately, 5-7.5 million students are chronically absent. Data necessary to assist educators in problem-solving chronic absenteeism are not widely available. This session focuses on the use of two instruments designed to inform problem-solving for PreK-12 students. A description of instrument administration, data analysis and real-life examples of designing and implementing interventions based on needs identified through the surveys will be provided.

Summary

Missing 10 percent or more of instructional days (chronic absenteeism) has significant impact on student outcomes. Chronic absenteeism is associated with decreased: reading levels, overall academic performance, on-time graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment as well as increased dropout rates (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012; Chang & Romero, 2008). In order for educators to develop interventions aimed at reducing absences, they must accurately understand why students are not coming to school. Research has identified the reasons students are chronically absent tend to fall within three broad categories Barriers, Aversions and Disengagement (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012).

Until recently, there have not been comprehensive tools that measure both parents’ and students’ reasons for chronic absenteeism aligned with the three aforementioned categories. However, there have been recently developed and pilot tested two related tools designed to provide information from students and parents regarding why students were chronically absent, the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism Survey and the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism Survey Parent.

The focus of this presentation is to increase participant knowledge and skill in data-based problem-solving of chronic absenteeism among PreK-12 students. The session will start with a brief overview of the literature related to the contributors, implications and interventions for chronic absenteeism and a description of tools to measure the reasons for chronic absenteeism from multiple informants. The tools to be covered in the session are the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism (RCA) and the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism-Parent (RCA-P).

The RCA and RCA-P are designed to provide information to district and school level educators about the reasons for chronic absenteeism among PreK-12 students via parent and student self-report. These data allow educators to understand the global patterns among absences as well as individual student reasons, and to better match interventions to need. The surveys were developed using DeVellis’s (2016) “gold standard” process for instrument development, including national validation studies of the tools.

Examples of district and school-level data obtained from the tools will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the data and examples of district and school action plans will be shared for participants to review and consider implementation logistics.

Evidence

Researchers estimate that among U.S. students, rates of chronic absenteeism (missing 10% or more of school days) approximate 10-15% each year. This translates into roughly 5-7.5 million students who miss approximately a month or more of school each year. More recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released data from 2013/2014 indicating that nationally 13% or over 6 million K-12 students missed 15 or more days of school per year, with considerable differences between subgroups and grade-levels (U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2016). Rates of chronic absenteeism peak in PreK and Kindergarten as students progress through elementary grade-levels the rates drop each year through fifth grade and then rise significantly in middle and high school (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012).

Missing 10 percent or more of instructional days has significant impact on student outcomes. Chronic absenteeism is associated with decreased: reading levels, overall academic performance, on-time graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment as well as increased dropout rates (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012; Chang & Romero, 2008). In order for educators to develop interventions aimed at reducing absences, they must accurately understand why students are not coming to school. Research has identified the reasons students are chronically absent tend to fall within three broad categories Barriers, Aversions and Disengagement (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012).

Instrumentation

The instruments examined in this study are the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism (RCA) and the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism-Parent (RCA-P). The RCA and RCA-P are designed to provide information to district and school level educators about the reasons for chronic absenteeism among PreK-12 students via parent and student self-report. This data will allow educators to understand the global patterns among absences as well as individual student reasons and better match interventions to need. Each item is rated using a 4-point scale (0 = Never a Reason; 1 = Rarely; 2 =Sometimes; 3 = Usually).

Development Procedures

Development of the RCA and RCA-P followed a multi-step process consistent with standards for instrument development (see American Educational Research Association, 1999; DeVellis, 2016). We reviewed the literature and existing instruments related to chronic absenteeism, truancy and school refusal to develop a conceptual framework as well as items for the tool. The readability level of the items, the number of items and characteristics of well designed items and overall measurement formats were considerations during development.

Draft items were evaluated by a panel of national, state and district-level experts. The panel provided structured feedback on item relevance, necessity and clarity as well as recommendations for additional items.

Cognitive interviews with chronically absent middle and high school and parents of chronically absent PreK-12 students were conducted. Participants in the cognitive interviews were asked how they would respond to items and to describe their thoughts while responding. They also provided feedback on any items or language that were confusing. Necessary revisions to the survey were made prior to conducting the pilot studies.

National pilots of the instrument were conducted in the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017, with a nationally representative target of sample of 5,790 chronically absent middle and high school students and 1,200 parents of chronically absent students. Factor analyses were conducted for the RCA to investigate the factor structure of the instruments and overall model fit. A confirmatory factor analyses resulted in a three factor model with the following fit indices: CFI = .91, RMSEA = .04, SRMR = .04. Factor analyses will be conducted for the RCA-P.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Amber Brundage currently serves as the PreK-12 Alignment Coordinator for the Florida Problem Solving/Response to Intervention Project in the Institute for School Reform at the University of South Florida. Amber’s current role involves supporting districts and schools with MTSS implementation. Her research interests include early warning systems and chronic absenteeism.

Previously, Amber worked as a school psychologist in SC, LA, MI, & AZ for districts in which she provided training and ongoing coaching to school and district leadership teams responsible for implementing MTSS as well as student focused services.

Keyword Descriptors

Chronic Absenteeism, Dropout Prevention, Data-Based Problem-Solving, Early Warning Systems

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-6-2018 2:45 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 4:00 PM

Brundage NYAR 2018 Slides Handouts.pdf (2006 kB)
Slides Handout

NYAR MCSD Attendance Action Plan May 2017.docx (113 kB)
MCSD Attendance Plan May 2017

NYAR MCSD Attendance Action Plan September 2017.docx (116 kB)
MCSD Attendance plan Sept. 2017

Brundage NYAR 2018 Attendance Interview Questions-for-StudentsParents.doc (31 kB)
Attendance Interview Questions

Share

COinS
 
Mar 6th, 2:45 PM Mar 6th, 4:00 PM

Engaging Data-Based Problem-Solving to Address Chronic Absenteeism Among PreK-12 Students

Scarbrough 4

Each year approximately, 5-7.5 million students are chronically absent. Data necessary to assist educators in problem-solving chronic absenteeism are not widely available. This session focuses on the use of two instruments designed to inform problem-solving for PreK-12 students. A description of instrument administration, data analysis and real-life examples of designing and implementing interventions based on needs identified through the surveys will be provided.