Attendance strongly predicts academic success. Many states in the United States require that districts or schools notify parents when students have missed multiple unexcused days of school. In a working paper released by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, Jessica Lasky-Fink and her colleagues reported the impact of sending parents truancy notifications modified to target behavioral barriers that can hinder effective parental engagement.
Compared to standard, legalistic, and punitively-worded notifications, modified truancy notifications used simplified language, emphasized parental role and efficacy, and highlighted the negative incremental effects of missing school.
This evaluation was a randomized experiment (N=131,312), and showed that modified truancy notifications reduced absences by 7 days, an estimated 40% improvement over the standard truancy notification.
Source: Lasky-Fink, Jessica, Carly D. Robinson, Hedy Chang, and Todd Rogers. (2020). Using behavioral insights to improve school administrative communications: The case of truancy notifications. (Edworkingpaper: 20-271). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/62tp-nx06