K-12 Attendance Intervention
Last registered on September 01, 2015


Trial Information
General Information
K-12 Attendance Intervention
Initial registration date
September 01, 2015
Last updated
September 01, 2015 4:34 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Harvard Kennedy School
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This experiment evaluates the effectiveness of using parental engagement to improve student attendance. We address three main research questions:
RQ1: Does contacting guardians and encouraging them to improve their students’ attendance reduce absences?
RQ2: Does communicating to guardians the total number of days their student missed reduce absences?
RQ3: Does communicating to guardians the total number of days their student missed as compared to the absences of a typical student reduce absences?

We also address the exploratory research question:
RQ4: Do these interventions also impact the attendance of other students in the household not explicitly mentioned in the mailings?

The three main research questions can be condensed into three behavioral-psychology-motivated components:
1. ENCOURAGE – Reaching out to guardians and encouraging them to improve student attendance
2. SELF – Informing guardians about their students’ absences
3. NORMS – Comparing students’ absences to what’s “normal”

This is conducted in a large urban district in the US and involves over 30,000 households.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Feller, Avi and Todd Rogers. 2015. "K-12 Attendance Intervention." AEA RCT Registry. September 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.829-1.0.
Former Citation
Feller, Avi, Todd Rogers and Todd Rogers. 2015. "K-12 Attendance Intervention." AEA RCT Registry. September 01. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/829/history/5150.
Experimental Details
See memo
There is no way of testing the effectiveness of the NORMS component without also implicitly measuring the effectiveness of generic parental encouragement (i.e., ENCOURAGE) and giving guardians information about their students’ attendance (i.e., SELF). As such, we leverage an experimental design that tests the added impact of each of these three components. Participating households are randomly assigned to one of four conditions:
(1) CONTROL: receives no additional outreach as part of this experiment.
(2) ENCOURAGE: receives mail stressing the importance of attendance, parental efficacy, and absence-reduction as part of parental role.
(3) ENCOURAGE + SELF: receives mail that has the same content as the ENCOURAGE mail but also states the number of days of school the guardians’ student missed.
(4) ENCOURAGE + SELF +NORMS: receives mail that contains all the same information as the ENCOURAGE + SELF mail but also compares the student’s attendance record to that of the typical student in their school and grade.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
See memo
Attendance, standardized test results, grades
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
See memo
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
See memo
Randomization by computer
Randomization Unit
See memo
One student within each household
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
30,000+ households (See memo)
Sample size: planned number of observations
30,000+ students, one per household (see memo)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
See memo
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB Name
Harvard IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-analysis plan

MD5: 2bc1463219b85dfe36aaeba3bb9e05a9

SHA1: 78fb17d1fdb40115989190c5b575656d445b415f

Uploaded At: September 01, 2015

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers