An article in the Herald & News from the McClatchy news service stated that a recent study has found a relationship between poor school attendance and low performance leading to dropping out of school.
The problem is important to address for the nation as a whole mainly due to the information contained in a report found on http://www.ehow.com/info_12266040_high-school-dropout-rate.html which stated: “Every single school day, 7,000 students drop out of high school -- roughly 1.2 million students each year -- according to a 2011 report from the Alliance for Excellent Education. In the past 40 years, the U.S. has dropped from No. 1 in the world in high school graduation to 21st, and although that rate has climbed to its highest level in 40 years, the dropout problem persists. For students who don't complete high school, there are wide-reaching effects, from lower lifetime income to higher incarceration rates. And although the U.S. has made progress, with 78 percent of students graduating, there are still several startling trends in the dropout data.”
A Behavior Analyst would first need to determine what undesirable behavior(s) are occurring that would need to be replaced by desirable behavior(s). This could be accomplished by naturalistic observation of a target sample population, which would take a large trained workforce along with a great deal of time. Another option would be to survey teachers and parents of students across a large sample of the student population to determine behavior that would most likely be causing the outcome.
Once data was collected on target behavior(s) a Behavior Analyst might use one of several techniques to extinguish the undesirable behavior and reinforce desirable behavior. Fading, Shaping, or Operant Conditioning could be used. As the number of scenarios could be daunting in using an example of a behavior that would be causing poor performance, I will use the one mentioned in the newspaper article. In the article it states their research determined that absenteeism was the result of their research. They stated that if a 6th grader missed 20-days of class, then that student was 20% likely to be a high school dropout.
The particular reason for the