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  • Running head: CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP 1

    Chronic Absenteeism among Low-Income Students Feeding the Achievement Gap: A Literature

    Review and Suggestions for School Counselors

    A Research Paper

    _________________________

    Presented to

    The Faculty of Adler Graduate School

    In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for

    The Degree of Master of Arts in

    Adlerian Counseling and Psyhotherapy

    _________________________

    By:

    Paula Anderson

    _________________________

    Chair: Doug Pelcak

    Member: Amy Foell

    _________________________

    May 2016

  • CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND ACHIEVEMENT GAP 2

    Abstract

    The achievement gap has been acknowledged and discussed for many years in its effects on

    student success rates. Students who chronically miss school create a roadblock to a schools

    ability to gain competency for all students. For low income families, some of the reasons for

    absenteeism are preventable illnesses, lack of health care, lack of transportation, chronic

    mobility, language barriers, or a general mistrust of the educational system. School counselors

    need to understand the factors contributing to chronic absence as the first step in determining

    actions needed to create solutions for those families who may be underserved by the schools.

    School counselors must also consider the implications for the faculty and peers of those students

    who are missing school on a frequent basis. School counselors need to facilitate the collaborative

    efforts between the families, schools, and the students. Since chronic absenteeism typically

    begins in the earliest school years but has effects that last through high school, these strategies

    must be undertaken early and utilize a preventative rather than reactive nature. Interventions to

    improve school attendance and the role of the school counselor in them will be discussed.

  • CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND ACHIEVEMENT GAP 3

    Table of Contents

    Chronic Absenteeism among Low-Income Students Feeding the Achievement Gap .................... 5

    Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 5

    Attendance Gap ............................................................................................................................... 5

    Achievement Gap............................................................................................................................ 7

    Analysis of the Problem .................................................................................................................. 8

    Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism .................................................................................................. 9

    Discretion .................................................................................................................................. 10

    Barrier........................................................................................................................................ 10

    Aversion .................................................................................................................................... 11

    Effects of Chronic Absenteeism ................................................................................................... 12

    School Counselor Suggestions ...................................................................................................... 13

    Data Collection .......................................................................................................................... 14

    Building Strong Relationships .................................................................................................. 16

    Ready4Routines . ................................................................................................................... 17

    Check and connect . ............................................................................................................... 18

    Minnesota’s School Counseling Struggle ................................................................................. 19

    Educating Public on Effects of Absence ................................................................................... 20

    School-Wide Training ............................................................................................................... 21

    Response to Intervention (RtI) .................................................................................................. 22

    Tier 1 ..................................................................................................................................... 23

    Tier 2...................................................................................................................................... 23

    Tier 3 ..................................................................................................................................... 24

    Potential Complications ................................................................................................................ 26

    ASCA Model ................................................................................................................................ 28

    Adlerian Perspective ..................................................................................................................... 30

    Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 31

    References ..................................................................................................................................... 34

    Appendix A ................................................................................................................................... 39

    Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 40

  • CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND ACHIEVEMENT GAP 4

    Appendix C ................................................................................................................................... 41

    Appendix D ................................................................................................................................... 42

    Appendix E ................................................................................................................................... 44

    Appendix F.................................................................................................................................... 45

    Helpful Resources for School Counselors .................................................................................... 52

  • CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND ACHIEVEMENT GAP 5

    Chronic Absenteeism among Low-Income Students Feeding the Achievement Gap

    Introduction

    According to Warren and Mapp (2011) education is the civil rights issue of our

    generation. Access to quality education continues to be more attainable for non-minority people

    who are living outside of poverty and especially those who come from well-educated families.

    The attendance and achievement gaps persist across our nation for those in poverty, especially

    those in poor communities. The following literature review attempts to understand not only the

    differences in student achievement but then to address the mindset and strategies school

    counselors and their schools can use in bridging these gaps and why it is important to consider

    the effects of chronic absenteeism on achievement and academic differences between the social

    economic classes.

    This paper will first focus on understanding the commonly used definitions of the

    attendance and achievement gaps and the population of students who are most frequently lost in

    the gaps. Next, the focus will shift to understanding the nature of the problem itself. Following

    that, school counselors will be given some ways of understanding how to approach the gaps and

    some interventions to dealing with the gaps. Approaches by the American School Counseling

    Association will follow with goals in mind for attaining school success for all students. Finally

    the paper will end with Adlerian views on not only the basis for the issues addressed, but also the

    approaches Adler himself may have used in helping the parents, schools, and students find their

    way into a more productive focus and effective means of gaining equity and social justice.

    Attendance Gap

    According to Balfanz and Byrnes (2012, p. 3) “Educators and policy makers cannot truly

    understand achievement gaps or efforts to close them without considering chronic absenteeism.”

  • CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM AND ACHIEVEMENT GAP 6

    Chronic absenteeism, also known by some as the attendance gap, is finally receiving much

    attention among those attempting to solve the achievement gap problem. The attendance gap is

    typically defined as “missing ten percent of a school year for any reason,” (Balfanz & Byrnes,

    2012, p. 3) excused or unexcused. It is different from t