This report describes the design and presents findings and recommendations for an evaluation of two truancy court-diversion programs in Ramsey County, Minnesota, which are intended to increase student attendance.
The programs were developed by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, and they are managed jointly by the county attorney's office and all school districts in the county. One program, the Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) serves adolescents ages 12-17 years old; and the second program, the Family Truancy Intervention Program (FTIP) serves children below age 12 and their families. In addition to examining the programs' impact on students' school attendance, the evaluation also examined whether there were ethnic or racial disparities in referral to TIP or FTIP. The evaluation linked longitudinal administrative data from multiple state and local agencies and conducted difference-in-difference analyses that used a matched comparison group of students from neighboring school districts not involved in TIP or FTIP and did not offer similar programs. The evaluation found that students in FTIP experienced short-term rebounds in their attendance, and students in TIP experienced a short-term leveling out in a general pattern of declining attendance; however, these same patterns of rebound occurred in the matched comparison groups due to regression to the mean. This is a statistical phenomenon that always occurs when interventions are applied to extreme cases in a sample distribution. White students were referred to TIP at significantly lower rates than students in all other racial and ethnic groups. In contrast, there were no statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in the proportion of students referred to TIP at each level of unexcused absences. 17 figures, 7 tables, and 94 references
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: September 1, 2019