Failing to graduate from high school can be related to problems during adulthood, individually for students who drop out and collectively on communities and the nation as a whole (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2012; Balfanz, Herzog, & MacIver, 2007; Orfield, 2004; Providence Public, 2012). Two factors, attendance and self-efficacy, have been linked to academic achievement and graduation rates and were the focus of this study.
Recent studies suggest a strong relationship between students’ attendance rates and graduation rates. A study of 9th graders in Chicago found that students with satisfactory attendance graduate at a higher rate than those with chronic absenteeism. Many interventions aimed at decreasing student absenteeism fail to address the needs of students who are chronically absent as they do not consider the role of student selfefficacy and the stated reasons why students miss school.
The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to determine if a relationship exists between academic self-efficacy and rates of absenteeism and also to determine what students report as the causes of their absenteeism. An academic self-efficacy scale was administered to 9th grade students (N=99) to determine if a relationship exists between academic self-efficacy and rates of absenteeism. Focus groups were conducted with 9th grade students (N=17) who were chronically absent during the first half of the 2014-2015 school year in order to identify the reasons that high school students report they are chronically absent.
Two of the student survey items were found to be significantly correlated with rates of absenteeism. The concept of persistence (r=.183, r 2=.03, p=.040, small/medium effect size) and meeting the expectations of others (r=.220, r 2=.05, p=.019, small/medium effect size) were positively related to higher absentee rates. No significant correlations were found for any of the dimensions or remaining items on the survey. The focus group findings indicated that students understand the connection between attending school and future success and that lack of parental encouragement, teacher support and follow-up and disengaging classes cause students to miss school. Results of the current study will help school, district and national educational leaders develop appropriate interventions to reduce student chronic absenteeism
Keegan, Michaela and Gable, Robert, "A Mixed Methods Study of the Causes of Chronic Absenteeism in a Large, Urban High School" (2016). K-12 Education. 32.