Our publications


Authors Brian Jacob and Kelly Lovett summarize the current state of data and evidence for reducing chronic absenteeism in our nation's schools.

KEY FINDINGS:

1. Chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10 percent of school days or more, is a growing concern for educators across the US.

2. Absenteeism is associated with lower academic achievement and higher risk of dropping out of school.

3. Some interventions to reduce absenteeism have shown promise, but they have primarily focused on specific populations and/or have produced relatively small improvements. It is likely that substantial improvement will require more substantial investments.

Authors Robin Jacob and A. Foster advise on best-practice research to inform program revision in Juvenile Justice. 

ABSTRACT

We describe the findings from a randomized evaluation of a one-year kindergarten math enrichment program, the High 5s program. The program was designed to provide small-group math enrichment in a fun, club-like format to children who had received enriched math instruction the prior year. Participants included 655 kindergarten students in 24 low-income schools in New York City. Students were randomly assigned to either the “business as usual” control group or to participate in the High 5s math clubs, which met outside of class in small groups with a trained facilitator three times per week. The High 5s program produced a positive impact on kindergarten math skills.

Here we report findings from a unique partnership between the University of Michigan and the State of Michigan that allowed us to match the universe of child maltreatment records with educational data on all public school children in the state.

KEY FINDINGS:

1. Approximately 18% of Michigan third graders have been formally investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS) for possible exposure to maltreatment. 

2. Across Michigan, some student groups are more likely to be investigated by CPS for suspected child maltreatment.

3. Early childhood maltreatment is associated with signifcantly lower academic outcomes, even after we control for school, neighborhood, race, and other key demographics.

4. Referral rates vary dramatically across districts, and even across schools within the same district. It is not unusual for one-third of students in high-poverty schools to have been investigated for abuse or neglect.

5. While poorer school districts have higher rates of maltreatment investigations, there are important exceptions to this pattern.

The Youth Policy Lab evaluated educational outcomes for youth who participated in summer youth employment in Detroit.

KEY FINDINGS:

1. Roughly 15 percent of eligible Detroit youth apply to participate in Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the city’s summer youth employment program.

2. Applicants come from slightly more advantaged neighborhoods and schools, and Black and female youth are more likely to apply than others.

3. Two years after participation, GDYT youth are more likely to remain enrolled in school, less likely to be chronically absent, more likely to take the SAT, and more likely to graduate high school. 

4. The benefits of participation are largest for youth who enter high school with the weakest academic skills.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report presents findings from a unique partnership between the University of Michigan and the State that allowed us to match the universe of child maltreatment records in Michigan with educational data on all public school children in the state. We find that roughly 18 percent of third-grade students have been subject to at least one formal investigation for child maltreatment. In some schools, more than fifty percent of third graders have experienced an investigation for maltreatment. These estimates indicate that child abuse and neglect cannot simply be treated like a secondary issue, but must be a central concern of school personnel.