The effect of absence feedback interventions on teacher attendance
Croft, Sean Michael
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On any given day approximately 10% of the students in the United States are taught by substitute teachers. The need to employ substitute teachers produces a considerable drain on the limited fiscal resources available to school districts and has shown to have a negative impact on student achievement. The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of an Absence Feedback Intervention (AFI) on teacher attendance. The Sun Port CSD implemented AFIs of varying frequencies (i.e., employees received AFI letters once per month, once every two months, or once every four months) with 209 teachers during the 2012-13 school year. Paired sample t -tests were used to assess the difference between employees' short-term absence episodes (STE) and total absence days (TAD) prior to the intervention and during the treatment year. Findings indicate that regardless of the frequency of the AFI all teachers (Mean STE Change= -0.82; p < .001; Mean TAD Change= -1.08; p < .001) and specifically, historically high absence teachers (Mean STE Change= -2.77; p < .001; Mean TAD Change= -2.60; p < .001) significantly reduced their STE and TAD during the treatment year. Furthermore, a one-way ANOVA test revealed significant different differences across historically high, average, and low absence teachers within the AFI-A treatment group (i.e., AFI letters issued once per month), with the historically high absence group showing the greatest reduction in absences (Mean STE Change= -4.11; Mean TAD Change= -3.82). These findings suggest that a no-cost intervention to reduce teacher absences can save school districts a considerable amount of money, recover instructional days provided by the regular classroom teacher, and significantly alter the attendance behavior of historically high absence teachers.