The Effects of the Stay in School Truancy Program on Academic Success in Harris County, Texas

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Summer 2013


Chronic truancy can have dire consequences from crime and unwanted pregnancy to drug abuse and poor economic futures. Mental illness, lack of parental support, unwanted pregnancy or marriage issues, undocumented immigrant status, drug abuse, and crime are reasons students become chronically truant. Accountability measures passed down from the state and federal levels have affected schools and reduced their accountability ratings because of chronic truancy. Parents and students are also held responsible in court. As a result, schools must find solutions that positively affect students and bring them back to school. Truancy prevention programs are one solution that many schools have implemented to reduce truancy and increase attendance, graduation, and completion rates. A variety of truancy prevention programs exist that hold schools and students accountable for absences. In Texas, Harris County has the only Department of Education (DOE) recommended program in the state, the Stay in School Truancy Program. At the time of this study, 12 school districts and one charter school participated in The Stay in School Truancy Program offered by Harris County. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of The Stay in School Truancy Prevention Program on student attendance, achievement, dropout data, and completion rates from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) compared to school districts that do not use any truancy prevention program. This study sought to confirm whether pressured accountability measures and solutions to create truancy prevention programs benefit students. Students who participated in this program, provided by a collaboration of school, county, and legal volunteers, received assistance in the form of mental healthcare services, social services, and, in some cases, legal aid. This support helps students become more successful in school. A causal-comparative design with repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted using data collected from TEA on academic success, attendance, completion, and dropout rates to determine the effectiveness of the Stay in School Truancy Program.


James Vornberg

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision