Background: Regular school attendance is foundational to children's success but school absenteeism is a common, serious, and highly vexing problem. Researchers from various disciplines have produced a rich yet diverse literature for conceptualizing problematic absenteeism that has led to considerable confusion and lack of consensus about a pragmatic and coordinated assessment and intervention approach. Objective: To lay the foundation and suggested parameters for a Response to Intervention (RtI) model to promote school attendance and address school absenteeism. Methods: This is a theoretical paper guided by a systematic search of the empirical literature related to school attendance, chronic absenteeism, and the utilization of an RtI framework to address the needs of school-aged children and youth. Results: The RtI and absenteeism literature over the past 25 years have both emphasized the need for early identification and intervention, progress monitoring, functional behavioral assessment, empirically supported procedures and protocols, and a team-based approach. An RtI framework promotes regular attendance for all students at Tier 1, targeted interventions for at-risk students at Tier 2, and intense and individualized interventions for students with chronic absenteeism at Tier 3. Conclusions: An RtI framework such as the one presented here could serve as a blueprint for researchers as well as educational, mental health, and other professionals. To develop this model and further enhance its utility for all youth, researchers and practitioners should strive for consensus in defining key terms related to school attendance and absenteeism and focus more on prevention and early intervention efforts. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
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