Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Gerald C. Ubben

Committee Members

Charles A. Chance, Robert K. Roney, William A. Pepper


Research supporting a positive correlation between parents awareness of their children’s school absenteeism and improved pupil attendance is limited and studies related to the use of telephone computers as viable alternatives for improving parental notification and reducing pupil absenteeism is non-existent. The primary purposes of the study were (1) to add to the body of research which deals with the relationship between parental awareness and pupil attendance and (2) to provide public school decision makers with data which would assist them in determining if telephone computers are effective, cost-beneficial alternatives to using personnel for notifying parents of their children’s non-attendance.

Data was collected from a population of 1767 freshman and sophomore students attending nine comprehensive high schools and located in an urban school district of approximately 65,000 students. Students in three of the high schools were chosen to receive the primary treatment which consisted of computerized, pre-recorded telephone notification of absence message addressed to their parents and delivered to their homes in the evening following each absence from school. A secondary treatment, which consisted of a similar message addressed to parents but delivered during school hours by attendance personnel, was applied to students in another three schools. The students in the remaining three schools were designated as members of the control, or no treatment, group and received no routine calls when absent from school. The treatments were administered over a period of 60 days during the Spring of 1984-85 school year.

Analysis of the data supported the overall conclusions that a strong and positive relationship did exist between parental awareness of their children’s absenteeism and the improved attendance behavior of the latter. In addition, the telephone computers were more efficient, productive, and cost-effective than personnel in providing notification of absenteeism to parents. Finally, the use of telephone computers by school personnel for notification of absence purposes was considered by parents to be an acceptable mode of communication between home and school.

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