This is the Final Summary Overview of an evaluation of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model, an intensive truancy-reduction program, which was implemented in five middle schools in a large urban district in the Southwest.
The evaluation focused on whether ACT improved student engagement and school connectedness, as measured by attendances, behavior, and academic achievement. The ACT model is derived from a community-based psychiatric rehabilitation treatment model. It involves a multidisciplinary team that coordinates services to high-risk students as defined by state criteria. The team is composed of a full-time case manager, part-time tutor, and part-time parent specialist. The case manager meets weekly with the clinical supervisor and the interdisciplinary team to ensure coordination of support and services. Services include mandatory one-on-one tutoring, small-group activities to develop school engagement attitudes and skills, home visits that include parenting education sessions, local field trips for enrichment, and daily interaction with trained mentors who focus on reducing truant behavior. One of the primary outcomes of interest in the evaluation was students’ school attendance, as well as number of disciplinary infractions and academic performance. The evaluation concluded that considering the additional costs required to operate the ACT model, it was not cost-effective. The evaluation notes, however, that the failure to achieve the outcomes anticipated may be the noted failure to implement the ACT model as intended due to staff turnover. 2 figures, 1 table, and 21 references
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