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Present and Accounted For: Partnership Effects on Student Attendance

Present and Accounted For: Partnership Effects on Student Attendance

Reducing student absenteeism and truancy is a goal of many schools across the country. Surprisingly little research focuses on what schools can do to increase and sustain students’ daily attendance, and even fewer studies explore how family–school–community partnerships may contribute to this goal.


In this longitudinal study, data were collected on schools’ rates of daily student attendance and chronic absenteeism and on specific partnership practices that were implemented to help increase or sustain student attendance. Results indicate that several family–school–community partnership practices predict an increase in daily attendance, a decrease in chronic absenteeism, or both. The data suggest that schools may be able to increase student attendance in elementary school by implementing specific family and community involvement activities.

Download the Full Article

The full article first appeared as “Present and accounted for: partnership effects on student attendance” Epstein, J. L. & Sheldon, S. B.  (2002).   The Journal of Educational Research, 95, 308 – 318, available here in pdf.

  1. Elizabeth Caran, MSW, LSW07-19-12

    In 1975 while working as a School Social Worker in a large economically diverse New Jersey school district, I worked with an amazing attendance officer who developed an excellent program for students with high school absenteeism. She identified students with current attendance problems and worked closely with the school counselors, school administrators, and social service agencies to integrate the child back into school and to improve their attendance. Her last resort was the court system if the parent/guardian was non-cooperative with her efforts. She was quite successful with getting students back to school until the district chief administrator decided to change her job into a traditional truant officer. She resigned her position rather then work in a manner that she felt was counter-productive. Her treatment approach grew out of her experience in her job as a juvenile justice counselor in the Atlanta Juvenile Court System. While working as a counselor, she found one common variable among her ‘juvenile delinquents’, high school absenteeism. Then, she observed other common variables including learning difficulties, family dysfunction, alcoholism, drug abuse, and poverty. When she addressed those secondary variables, the school attendance went up.

    I applaud your efforts to develop workable programs to address the drop-out problem in some of our most troubled neighborhoods. Relationships are the key to helping people and your program addresses need for positive relationships.

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