Addressing Chronic Absenteeism in Schools: A Meta-Analysis of Evidence-Based Interventions

Katie Eklund, Matthew K. Burns, Kari Oyen, Sarah DeMarchena, Elizabeth M. McCollom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated that regular school attendance is necessary for acceptable academic performance and the development of desirable social skills and behaviors. One in seven students in the United States struggles with chronic absenteeism, and 36 states use accountability metrics that are designed to assess attendance rates as part of school performance profiles. The current meta-analysis examined the effects of interventions and programs on student attendance outcomes in pre-K–12 public schools. Data were taken from 22 random and nonrandom controlled intervention studies published from 2000 to 2018. Between-group (weighted g = 0.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14–0.36) and within-group (weighted g = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.32–1.76) research designs resulted in small effects on attendance outcomes. Interventions were coded across three categories: behavioral interventions, family–school partnerships, and academic interventions. All three intervention areas resulted in small effects (weighted g = 0.09–0.26). The confidence interval for family–school partnerships was the only one that included 0, which suggests the possibility of a zero effect for that variable. Results suggest that most practices implemented to improve student attendance are either understudied, lead to small effects, or both. Implications for practice and future research regarding attendance interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-111
Number of pages17
JournalSchool Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • ESSA
  • absenteeism
  • attendance
  • family–school partnerships
  • interventions
  • meta-analysis
  • truancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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