Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 4-2016

Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Tom Winter

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Alan Lipps

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Terry Johnson


The Communities In Schools (CIS) model promotes individualized one-on-one interventions for at-risk students assessed for needs in the areas of academics, behavior, and/or attendance. While previous research has linked the CIS program to higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates in secondary grades, little research has been done to examine the impact of the CIS program on elementary students. Using data from student records of at-risk elementary students receiving CIS services and those at-risk elementary students on a campus without the CIS program, this study examined the effect of the CIS services on student absences, behavior incidents, citizenship, and academic achievement as measured through grades and standardized testing. Results indicated that at-risk students within the CIS program exhibited significantly fewer absences and behavior incidents per school year and higher yearly averages in core subject areas than at-risk students on a campus without the CIS program. However, students within the program demonstrated a greater decline in core performance averages over the course of the year, had a higher rate of failure on standardized tests, and exhibited no difference in citizenship scores as compared to students on the campus without the CIS program. Though there are mixed results on the academic target, the discussion section identifies factors contributing to those findings. The results of this study do support the conclusion that the CIS program has an effect on the three targeted areas for students—attendance, behavior, and academic performance (in the form of overall student grade averages)—starting in elementary school. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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