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Title:Chronic student absenteeism: implications for school leaders
Author(s):Sculles, Kelly
Director of Research:Hunter, Richard C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hunter, Richard C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Alexander, S. Kern; Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.; Shields, Carolyn M.; Sloat, Linda
Department / Program:Education, Policy, Organization, & Leadership
Discipline:Educational Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Student absenteeism
student voice
implications for school leaders
middle school
building relationships
limiting assumptions
Abstract:Consistent school attendance is critical if students are to build and maintain a foundation for ongoing learning and academic success throughout life. When students are not in attendance, they miss essential instruction, which often times cannot be replicated. They miss the incidental learning that takes place during classroom discussion. Further, research suggests chronic student absenteeism is prevalent in the United States and Europe. Research also links the presence of chronic student absenteeism to more complex problems later in adulthood. This phenomenological study describes the experiences of five middle school students identified with chronic student absenteeism from a purposefully selected middle school. Through a reflective interview process the study sought to “hear the silenced voices” (Creswell, 2007, p. 40) of those students identified with chronic student absenteeism, along with the voices of their parents and/or guardians. The findings indicate the risk factors associated with student absenteeism across the five middle school students are associated with those described in previous research. Further, the findings point to the importance of student and parent and/or guardian voice within schools. Recommendations for school leaders faced with addressing student attendance concerns include going beyond eliciting student voice by taking a critical approach to leadership within the schools; recognizing the importance of building relationships and limiting assumptions. Further, it is recommended that future research take a closer look at student attendance at the elementary school level, dig deeper into the interconnectedness of the risk factors impacting student attendance, and consider the power of student and parent and/or guardian voice in developing educational practices and policies.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Kelly Sculles
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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