Scale: Recent and Lifetime Truancy Scale

What it measures:

  • The number of times a student has been absent for a full day or part of the day from school without permission.

Intended age range: 8- to 18-year-olds.

Brief description: The scale consists of 2 items: “How often in the last three months of school have you skipped a full day of school without your parent or guardian knowing?” and “How often in the last three months of school have you skipped a class without being allowed?” Youth respond on a 4-point scale: I have never done this in my whole life; I have done this, but not in the last 3 months of school; I did this 1–2 times in the last 3 months of school; or I did this 3 or more times in the last 3 months of school.

Rationale: This measure was selected based on its brevity and use of a similarly worded set of questions in previous large-scale mentoring evaluations.

Cautions: The definition of truancy is usually established by school district policy and may vary across districts.

Special administration information: For younger elementary-age children, the “skipping class” question may not be as relevant as it is for older youth who attend more than one class. For this reason, you may wish to omit the question on skipping class when administering the measure to younger children.

How to score: Each item is scored on a 4-point scale from 0 (Never in my whole life) to 3 (3 or more times in the last 3 months of school). The total score is computed by adding scores across both items.

How to interpret findings: A score of zero indicates that the child has never skipped class or school; higher scores indicate more frequent and/or more recent truancy.

Access and permissions: The measure is available for no fee here.

Alternatives: None.

Citation: Adapted from: Herrera, Carla, David L. DuBois and Jean Baldwin Grossman. 2013. The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. New York, NY: A Public/Private Ventures project distributed by MDRC.

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