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Evaluation of the Gulfton Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
K. A. Finley, Ph.D., and J. Z. Heilbrunn
This is the final report on the findings and methodology of the evaluation of the Gulfton Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project in Houston, TX.
The evaluation focused on two components of the program: police visits to the homes of truant students and case management for truants. The evaluation found that police visitation of truant students’ homes was effective in improving attendance, especially within the 2 weeks immediately following the visit. Officers most often referred students to academic tutoring and did not issue tickets for truancy. Long-term effectiveness was not determined. It is recommended that follow-up with a truant student occur within 2 weeks of an officer’s visit. The case management services for truant students were not effective for the majority of the students who received these services. Case management did not improve attendance, grades, or school engagement for most of the truants who received these services; however, the effect of improving just one student‘s attendance and grades resulted in an estimated return on investment of just over $4.00 for every $1.00 spent in providing case management. The evaluation advises that such cost-benefit is sufficient to continue the truancy case management component. The evaluators suggest this component might be more beneficial if provided earlier in a student’s career, given that the program evaluated was for a high school. The majority of the data for the evaluation came from the 2004-2005 school year records, student and parent surveys, and police records. Appended tables of differences between comparison groups and treatment groups on student engagement and survey results
Date Created: August 16, 2015