09 SES 10 C, Methodological Issues in Tests and Assessments
Truancy is often thought of as a problematic student behavior. While in sum, there is agreement on the association of truant behavior and academic achievement, the nature of this association and especially its causality have only rarely been addressed in scientific studies. Of the existing studies that deal with causal effects of students’ academic performance on truancy, there is consistent evidence that low achievement at school affects secondary students’ attendance behavior and may result in truancy (Bosworth, 1994). With regard to these findings, Shute and Cooper (2015) argued that truancy can be seen as a rational student behavior depending on their academic achievement at school—in which case the assumption that high-achieving students have other reasons for playing truant than low-achieving students is crucial. Accordingly, the need to know more about the causal connection between truant student behavior and academic achievement is a highly relevant research topic for educational policy makers that needs to be investigated in more detail.
Given that the causal relationship between truancy and student achievement is somewhat short of empirical evidence at this point, current theory building on truancy mainly focuses on expressing that the group of truant students is conceptualized as being quite heterogeneous. Furthermore, most studies focus on academically weak students when investigating truancy. Hence, the assumption of a linear relationship between achievement and truancy cannot be kept (Malcolm, Thorpe, & Lowden, 1996; Siziya, Muula, & Rudatskikira, 2007) and truancy should not be seen as a behavior that is exclusively chosen by academically weak students.
This study is guided by the idea that truancy is not only a behavior of academically weak students, but is also prevalent in high-performing students. Students are considered to be high-performing when they reach at least proficiency level 4 out of 6 in the PISA mathematics test (OECD, 2014). Our main research question is whether self-reported truant behavior has an impact on the probability of reaching at least competence level 4 in the PISA 2012 mathematics test. This approach reassesses the assumption that many proficiencies measured in large-scale student assessments are mostly acquired at school. Furthermore, we investigate the question how the effect is affected when allowing for rates of measurement error of truancy in students’ participation status.
Bosworth, D. (1994). Truancy and Pupil Performance. Education Economics, 2(3), 243–264. http://doi.org/10.1080/09645299400000025 Malcolm, H., Thorpe, G., & Lowden, K. (1996). Understanding truancy: Links between attendance, truancy and performance. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education. OECD. (2014). PISA 2012 Results: What students know and can do: Student performance in mathematics, reading and science (Revised edition). Paris: OECD Publishing. Sälzer, C., Prenzel, M., & Klieme, E. (2013). Schulische Rahmenbedingungen der Kompetenzentwicklung. In M. Prenzel, C. Sälzer, E. Klieme, & O. Köller (Eds.), PISA 2012: Fortschritte und Herausforderungen in Deutschland (pp. 155–187). Münster: Waxmann. Shute, J. W., & Cooper, B. S. (2015). Understanding in-school truancy. Phi Delta Kappa, 96(6), 65–68. http://doi.org/10.1177/0031721715575303 Siziya, S., Muula, A. S., & Rudatsikira, E. (2007). Prevalence and correlates of truancy among adolescents in Swaziland: findings from the Global School-Based Health Survey. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 1(1), 15. doi:10.1186/1753-2000-1-15
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