Rogers & Feller, 2017: Mailing parents letters emphasizing that “absences matter and you can help” reduced school year absences among Philadelphia school district students
Parents of students (K-12) in the Philadelphia school district (28,080 households across 203 schools) were sent mailings five times throughout the school year emphasizing “absences matter and you can help” (reminder condition). In a second group, the mailing also included the number of absences their child had had so far in the school year (total absences condition). A third included a comparison to the modal number of absences among the student’s classmates (relative absences condition). Both treatments reduced absences over the school year (total absences: 16 days absent; relative absences: 15.9 days absent; reminder: 16.4 days absent; no-mailing control: 17 days absent). Other students in the same households as target students showed nearly as large reductions in the total absences and relative absences conditions. There was no moderation by student grade. There was no effect on end-of-year standardized test scores among students in grades 4-8.