Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Identifying the Determinants of Chronic Absenteeism: A Bioecological Systems Approach

by Michael A. Gottfried & Kevin A. Gee - 2017

Background/Context: Chronic school absenteeism is a pervasive problem across the US; in early education, it is most rampant in kindergarten and its consequences are particularly detrimental, often leading to poorer academic, behavioral and developmental outcomes later in life. Though prior empirical research has identified a broad range of determinants of chronic absenteeism, there lacks a single, unified theoretically driven investigation examining how such factors concurrently explain the incidence of chronic absenteeism among our nation’s youngest schoolchildren. Thus, it is difficult to determine the relative importance of one factor over another, hence making it challenging to develop appropriate supports and services to reduce school absences.

Purpose/Research Questions: Our study filled this critical void—we investigated multiple determinants of chronic absenteeism that were grounded, theoretically and empirically, in Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model of development. Specifically, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) and the method of hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM), we analyzed how the co-occurrence of key (1) process, (2) person, and (3) context (micro-, meso-, exo- and macrosystem) factors was associated with kindergarteners’ probability of being chronically absent.

Findings/Results: Children who have poorer health, higher internalizing behaviors, and more frequent engagement in learning activities at home had higher odds of chronic absenteeism. Also, children from larger families and of lower socioeconomic status faced increased odds of chronic absenteeism. Conversely, children holding positive attitudes towards school had lowered odds of chronic absenteeism, a finding that remained robust across socioeconomic status groups. Finally, parent–school connections were associated with lowered odds of absenteeism.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Overall, our findings strongly suggested that addressing chronic absenteeism will require comprehensive and multifaceted approaches that recognize these multiple factors. With this theoretically grounded, more descriptive approach, it is more feasible to identify key factors and subsequently design policies and practices to prevent absence behavior.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Identifying the Determinants of Chronic Absenteeism: A Bioecological Systems Approach
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 7, 2017, p. 1-34
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21802, Date Accessed: 9/20/2021 4:18:56 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Michael Gottfried
    University of California Santa Barbara
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL A. GOTTFRIED is an associate professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research interests are grounded in educational policy and the economics of education. He has focused extensively on issues pertaining to truancy and absenteeism. Recent articles pertaining to this area include: “Chronic Absenteeism in the Classroom Context” (Urban Education, in press); “Can Center-Based Childcare Reduce the Odds of Early Chronic Absenteeism?” (Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2015).
  • Kevin Gee
    University of California, Davis
    E-mail Author
    KEVIN A. GEE is assistant professor of education in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis and researches the impact of school-based health policies and programs on children's outcomes. He also investigates how school policies and programs can help promote the well-being and educational outcomes of children who face a broad array of adverse conditions and experiences including school bullying, food insecurity, and abuse and neglect. Dr. Gee specializes in the use of applied quantitative methods in evaluation including quasiexperimental methods and multilevel modeling. In his recent Journal of Adolescent Health article, “School-Based Body Mass Index Screening and Parental Notification in Late Adolescence: Evidence from Arkansas’s Act 1220,” he examines the effectiveness of a school-based body mass index (BMI) screening and parental notification policy on adolescent obesity.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue