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Indicated Truancy Interventions: Effects on School Attendance among Chronic Truant Students

NCJ Number
Date Published
84 pages

In this review, the authors were guided by three research questions in order to determine the impacts of different truancy-related initiatives on school attendance; they discuss their meta-analysis objectives, search strategy, selection criteria for studies to be included in the review, data collection and analysis, and results.


This Campbell systematic review examines the effect of interventions on school attendance to inform policy, practice, and research. The review summarizes findings from 28 studies conducted in the US, Canada, U.K., and Australia. Overall, truancy intervention programs are effective. There is a significant overall positive and moderate mean effect of intervention on attendance, which increases attendance by 4.7 days per student by the end of the intervention. Studies did not measure longer-term outcomes, so the authors do not know if these gains in attendance continue after the intervention ends. There was no significant difference in the effectiveness of different delivery channels (e.g., school, court or community-based), different modalities (e.g., individual, family, group, or multimodal), or different lengths of time (e.g., one day versus a school year). Contrary to popular belief and recommendations for best practices in truancy reduction found in the existing literature, collaborative programs and multimodal interventions do not produce greater effects on attendance than other types of programs. However, small sample sizes and substantial variation between studies suggest caution is needed in interpreting and applying these findings. There are shortcomings in the literature, notably the lack of inclusion of minority students. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2012