One of the major issues confronting schools today is truancy. Truancy traditionally refers to absences caused by students of their free will. The exact meaning of the term itself is subject to differ from school to school. Beyond the effect missed schooling may have on a student’s academic record, truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, education system, or both. A. M. Spencer in his article “School Attendance Patterns, Unmet Educational Needs, and Truancy” stated: “Persistent absenteeism has been acknowledged as a precursor to unfavorable outcomes, including academic disappointments, dropout and juvenile delinquency. My research was comprised of reviewing credible literature on truancy, as well as perusing academic and attendance data obtained from the Arkansas Department of Education. Analyzing such data will aid educators in identifying early indicators that may lead to chronic absenteeism later on in the educational process. My research centered on the West Memphis School District, during the through the 2006 thru the 2009 school years. Data focused on average daily membership, average daily attendance, graduation rate, dropout rate, and attendance rate.
Truancy is a major issue in education. The remedy lies in communities and schools creating effective truancy reduction programs. Schools must work with communities and parents to understand the impact of truancy on education, creating an awareness to parents of certain terminology such as; attendance rate, truancy rate, unexcused and excused absences, at-risk, truancy reduction, adequate yearly progress, retention and graduation rate, will empower parents with the conceptual knowledge to engage in meaningful dialogue with school administrators and teachers, on how they can become involved in their child’s school experiences. Sir Francis Bacon wrote, “Knowledge is Power”. (Dr Zella McDonald, personal communication, December 15, 2011)Truancy data can be used by educators to make informed decisions as it relates to truancy. Attendance monitors on the state and local levels must track attendance and test scores beginning in grade 3 thru grade 12, identifying predictors of early truancy patterns. By identifying troubles early on, and addressing aggressively, school and community leaders can use attendance data to make states look at expanding state attendance reporting and enforcement laws, mandating schools and districts to make attendance reporting a priority. This can be accomplished by administering parent, teacher and student surveys in order to obtain various perspectives on the causes and possible solutions to chronic absenteeism and truancy.
In conclusion, students who are absent frequently from school can have a negative impact on both the school and the truant student, as well. Local communities will experience both long and short term consequences, which can eventually produce concerns in regards to public safety. Communities must work to identify solutions to address and correct this issue (National Center for, 2006). Recent studies identified two essential components that must be addressed: Communities, schools, parents, judicial systems and students, must work cooperatively to establish rules and enforce consequences quickly and consistently. Schools must become institutions where students feel comfortable and safe. Successful solutions to truancy whether on an individual basis, or collectively, will require inclusive strategies at various levels that will address both components (National Center for, 2006). The proposed truancy intervention strategy consist of the following: Communities and schools must communicate truancy rules clearly, while monitoring youth consistently and enforcing consequences quickly and fairly. School interventions with students who are regularly truant must focus on helping the youth become reengaged through the conditions of educational experiences that the youth feel is safe, caring, academically accommodating, interesting and pertinent (Reimer, 2005). Ongoing monitoring and communication both academically and socially must be implemented on both state and local levels. Technologies now allow schools to communicate with parents through email and text messages. The long used method of notes and letters has become obsolete, and other forms of communication that parents and students use daily should be implemented. It is essential for schools to create and administer climate surveys that address truancy and absenteeism. Educators must also implement programs that track students that have early environmental and social indicators of absenteeism and truancy, in order to provide early intervention. In communities with high rates of truancy, creating all-inclusive solutions that address the fundamental components of truancy (environmental, academic, and social), and the implementation of the possible intervention strategy I have identified, will be necessary to have a successful long-term impact on the truancy issue.
Learning Theory and Research An Authentic Application
TRUANCY• Persistent absenteeism was acknowledged as a precursor to unfavorable outcomes, including academic disappointments, dropout, and juvenile delinquency (Spencer, 2009).
District Data• Figure 1• Grade 10 Total days in Attendance: 15,480.5• Average Daily Membership (474.73) Average Daily Attendance (345.40)• Truancy Rate 4.16%• Grade 11 Total days in Attendance: 13,678.0• Average Daily Membership (407.46) Average Daily Attendance (309.16)• Truancy Rate 1.49%• Grade 12 Total days in Attendance: 11,223.5• Average Daily Membership (297.44 Average Daily Attendance (235.43)• Truancy Rate 0.69%• Data from Arkansas Department of Education• Figure 2• School District’s Summary• Attendance Rate-Graduation Rate-Dropout Rate• 2006/2007 2007/2008 2008/2009• Attendance Rate 92.9 93.2 93.1• Graduation Rate 78.4 74.98 75.3• Dropout Rate 4.9 4.2 5• Data provided by the Arkansas Department of Education
Proposed Solutions• Communities, schools, parents, judicial systems and students, must work cooperatively to establish rules and enforce consequences quickly and consistently• Schools must become institutions where students feel comfortable and safe. Successful solutions to truancy whether on an individual basis, or collectively, will require inclusive strategies at various levels that will address both components.• Intervention truancy strategy must consist of the following: Communities and schools must communicate truancy rules clearly, while monitoring youth consistently and enforcing consequences quickly and fairly.
References• References•• Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA. (2011). School attendance: focusing on engagement and re-engagement practice notes. Eric, 1(1), 1-7. Web site: http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet? Learning Theory and Research: An Authentic Application• DeKalb, J. (2001, February 19). Student truancy. Eric 125, 1(125), 1-8. Retrieved February 19, 2001, from Kid-source Web site: http://www.kidsource.com/education/student.truancy.html• Gaines, R. (2011). Truancy, tardiness, and education. Unpublished manuscript, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.• National Center for School Engagement. (July 28, 2006). School policies that engage students and families (Brief, p. 1). Retrieved July 1, 2006, from National Center for School Engagement Web site: http://www.schoolengagement.org/• Reid, Ken. (2005). The causes, views and traits of school absenteeism and truancy: an analytical review. Eric, 74(1), 59-82. Retrieved January 01, 2007, from ERIC Web site: http://journals.mup.man.ac.uk/cgi-bin/MUP? COMval=RED/V&10? 740059. xml• Reimer, M. S. (2005). Truancy prevention in action: best practices and model truancy programs. National Dropout Prevention/Network, 1(1), 1-52. Retrieved January 01, 2005, from ERIC Web site: http://www.eric.gov/PDFS/ED491287.pdf• Spencer, A. M. (2009). School attendance patterns, unmet educational needs, and truancy. Remedial and Special Education, 1(1), 309-319. Retrieved January 01, 2009, from http://rase.sagepub.com Web site: http://online.sagepub.com
Annotated Bibliography• DeKalb, J. (2001, February, 19). Student truancy. Eric Clearinghouse, 125, Retrieved February 19, 2001 from http://www. kidsource.com/education/student.truancy.html.• This digest examines some of the ways that truancy affects both individuals and society. It identifies factors that may place students at greater risk of becoming truant and lists some consequences of nonattendance.• Morris, J.D. (1991, January 1,). Building a model to predict which fourth through eighth graders will drop out in high school. The Journal of Experimental Education, 59, Retrieved January 1, 1991, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20152293• The classification accuracies of models for predicting later high school dropout from data available in grades 4 through 8 were examined in this study. The objective was to construct an actuarial dropout screening model to serve as part of an overall dropout identification paradigm for the state of Florida.• Reid, Ken. (2005). The causes, views and traits of school absenteeism and truancy: an analytical• review. Eric, 74(1), 59-82. Retrieved January 01, 2007, from ERIC Web site: http://• journals.mup.man.ac.uk/cgi-bin/MUP? COMval=RED/V&10? 740059. xml• This article presented an up-to-date synthesis and review of recent research in the field of school absenteeism and truancy.• Spencer, A.M. (2009, January, 1). School attendance patterns, unmet educational needs, and truancy. Remedial and Special Education, 1. Retrieved January 01, 2009, from http://rase.sagepub.com Web site: http://online.sagepub.com.• This study examines chronological patterns of attendance and academic performance of urban students who are identified as truants in Grade 8. A chronological review of 42 students’ records, from school entry through grade 8, identified high frequencies of absenteeism and academic performance issues beginning at school entry.••••