Chronic Absenteeism Assessment Project ( CAAC )

A New Prevention and Intervention Program designed to reduce chronic absenteeism with the use of a simple biometric tracking system called eAttendance paired with a table and a fingerprint scanner. The project is implemented in collaboration with other scientists including Dr. Yanis Ben Amor and Justine Dowden at the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) Earth Institute, Columbia University,,,

CAAC is a data-driven approach to tracking and learning the causes of student absenteeism toward improving attendance and reducing drop out. This sample biometric approach to measuring student chronic absenteeism toward reducing school dropout, is a technology-based solution to chronic absenteeism. The project objectives are to identify the causes of chronic absenteeism and to avert trends that lead to attendance issues and school dropout.  

The purpose of CAAP is to implement an inexpensive and simple biometric system, called eAttendance, that will track and store students’ daily attendance records electronically.  

The program consists of two major components:  

(1) a fingerprint scanner paired with a netbook or tablet running a tracking software to accurately measure school attendance  

(2) dedicated Education Extension Workers (EEWs) to work with at-risk chronically absent students  

The program works by using students’ fingerprints to record daily attendance each time the student is present at school. The attendance records from the schools are aggregated wirelessly to a central location where EEWs are able to analyze the data and identify students who are at risk of becoming chronically absent.

EEWs are then dispatched into the community in order to pinpoint the reason for the absence and address each student’s individual needs to improve attendance. Interventions include home visits, parent engagement, and one-on-one sessions with EEWs. 

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