Carolyn Gentle-Genitty

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Translating Student Engagement Research into Assessment Data Through Collaboration: A University, Youth and Housing Agency, and Community Partnership

After conducting research on youth antisocial behavior and studying middle school truancy through the lens of the social control theory, a Perception of School Social Bonding instrument was developed and is being tested. The result has been a new project titled "Student Success." The project endeavors to assess schools' opportunities to increase students' bond to their school. For this project "school bond" is defined as students' perception of schools options for them to be attached, committed, involved, and believe in the value of school. In addition to assessment of their perceptions, students' attendance rates will be examined where available. The project will be with schools throughout the US who have agreed to have their school assessed. The goals of the project are 1) to evaluate students' perceptions of their schools using the Gentle-Genitty Perception of School Social Bonding Scale (PSSB); 2) ascertain challenges students face in the school environment as evidenced through their levels of attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief; 3) assess whether student perceptions and challenges impede or influence their attendance rates; 4) assess whether students' bond perceptions and attendance rates impede student success; 5) assist in drafting strategies to increase student attendance rates and thereby reducing evidence of truancy as well as market the instrument used to assess. The research question is "What school environmental factors can improve student success through the assessment of student attendance rates and perceptions of social bonding opportunities?"

Dr. Gentle-Genitty's work to apply research on students' connection to their schools and the impact that has on student success is another example of how IUPUI's faculty members are TRANSLATING their RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 76
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    The Unlearning of School Attendance: Ideas for Change
    (Frontiers Media, 2024) Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Ansari, Arya; Marshall, Ineke; Gottfried, Michael
    This Research Topic on Unlearning Attendance champions a serious look at school attendance and absenteeism. It examines all forms of school attendance problems ranging from school refusal, truancy, school withdrawal, to school avoidance and its correlates of criminal, socio-emotional, developmental, psychological, academic, fiscal, technological, and societal impact. The issue gives a synopsis on the known problems and challenges but also those exacerbated by the pandemic and ideas for improvement. The issue takes a bold step to call out antiquated practices which have continued to fail students through teaching and learning, policy, laws and statutes, transportation, practice, program, funding, tracking, evaluation, and outcomes. Stop punishing our children for attending. Resilient students who overcome the odds to show up 170 days of the annual 180 required days are often marked truant. In some cases they are suspended, expelled, or reported by law to juvenile courts. Before COVID, and now more than ever, children's attendance and participation in education have been important. Yet since the establishment of required education, our laws, policies, school practices, data tracking, intervention response, and outcome measures have not been updated. These antiquated processes fail current students. Despite a focus on positive behavior interventions, tiered approaches, and socio-emotional learning in the last few decades we still only track absence and not presence. There is need for emerging and new ways of valuing participation in education from pre-school to high school. We must evaluate our governing policies of what constitutes presence (physical vs virtual). We must use more engagement versus discipline methods to foster success; update punitive laws requiring mandatory reporting to juvenile probation courts rather than development resources; change what we track, who we track, and how we report. We must unlearn the old way of attendance. Unlearning attendance speaks to the idea that policies, practices, and procedures in place for students in K-12 (primary) and high schools have consistently been punitive, ineffective in use of data, and non-progressive. As a result there is need for new research, new ways to evaluate, and emerging and best practice efforts to engage students. Unlearning Attendance: Ideas for Change is a call for action that features emerging practices from practitioners, educators, researchers, policy makers, and organizations from around the globe who have been toiling at solutions for problems faced everyday in and out of the classroom and with parents and partners to support student engagement in their education.
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    Beyond Solo Acts: How Teams Supporting Schools Orchestrate Attendance Success
    (Indiana University, May 2024) Heyne, David; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn
    This topic brief shifts the focus beyond attendance teams in schools to the collaborative efforts of teams supporting schools. In the US, this often involves the school district working alongside schools to address attendance. Across the globe, entities like regional bureaus, local authorities, municipalities, or collaborations play this vital role.
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    Effects of Risk Factors on Belizean Adolescents’ Academic Behaviors and Grit after Prolonged Absence During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (Ubiquity Press, 2022) Vairez, Mathias, Jr.; Gomez, Frank, Jr.; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Quiroz, Janeen; Manzanero, Olga
    This causal-comparative study explored the effects of risk factors—family status, parental marital status, family income, and parent education level—on Belizean adolescents’ academic behaviors and grit (passion and perseverance in goal achievement) following prolonged absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected online using a demographic survey, the Grit-S Scale (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), coupled with eight additional items to measure academic behaviors (attendance, preparedness, attention, note-taking, participation, organization, use of out-of-school time, and homework completion and submission) for success (Farrington et al., 2012) from secondary and tertiary students in Belize. With rare exception, Belizean education took place in person before the pandemic. This changed to remote teaching and learning during the pandemic. Findings showed that adolescents from the defined risk factor of single-parent households experienced greater declines across all eight academic behaviors. Additionally, this effect was more pronounced for adolescents who experienced the loss of a parent from divorce or death of a parent. For grit, there were two key outcomes: (a) adolescents from nuclear and higher income families had slightly higher levels of grit; and (b) adolescents from parents with lower educational attainment had significantly higher levels of grit than their peers. Based on these findings, recommendations include more study of schools that invest in becoming trauma responsive when evaluating engagement and performance during prolonged absences. Future research should assess adolescents’ level of academic behaviors, grit, and other noncognitive factors.
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    Revealing underlying factors of absenteeism: A machine learning approach
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-12-01) Bowen, Francis; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Siegler, Janaina; Jackson, Martin
    Introduction: The basis of support is understanding. In machine learning, understanding happens through assimilated knowledge and is centered on six pillars: big data, data volume, value, variety, velocity, and veracity. This study analyzes school attendance problems (SAP), which encompasses its legal statutes, school codes, students’ attendance behaviors, and interventions in a school environment. The support pillars include attention to the physical classroom, school climate, and personal underlying factors impeding engagement, from which socio-emotional factors are often the primary drivers. Methods: This study asked the following research question: What can we learn about specific underlying factors of absenteeism using machine learning approaches? Data were retrieved from one school system available through the proprietary Building Dreams (BD) platform, owned by the Fight for Life Foundation (FFLF), whose mission is to support youth in underserved communities. The BD platform, licensed to K-12 schools, collects student-level data reported by educators on core values associated with in-class participation (a reported—negative or positive—behavior relative to the core values) based on Social–Emotional Learning (SEL) principles. We used a multi-phased approach leveraging several machine learning techniques (clustering, qualitative analysis, classification, and refinement of supervised and unsupervised learning). Unsupervised technique was employed to explore strong boundaries separating students using unlabeled data. Results: From over 20,000 recorded behaviors, we were able to train a classifier with 90.2% accuracy and uncovered a major underlying factor directly affecting absenteeism: the importance of peer relationships. This is an important finding and provides data-driven support for the fundamental idea that peer relationships are a critical factor affecting absenteeism. Discussion: The reported results provide a clear evidence that implementing socio-emotional learning components within a curriculum can improve absenteeism by targeting a root cause. Such knowledge can drive impactful policy and programming changes necessary for supporting the youth in communities overwhelmed with adversities.
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    Searching for Consistency in Attendance Data Recording, Reporting, and Utilization in the USA
    (Orbis Scholae, 2023-05-02) Graczyk, Patricia A.; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Humm Patnode, Amber; Moulton, Sara E.
    According to the United States Department of Education (USDOE), 16% or over eight million kindergarten through twelfth grade students in the US missed 10% or more school days during the 2017−2018 school year. This is approximately 18 of 180 days required. We know this because schools are mandated to report their attendance data to their respective states and to the USDOE. There are concerns around accuracy and consistency because each state is allowed to compile data in their own way and report only select metrics to the USDOE to comply with federal guidelines. The consistency on federal metrics, nonetheless, allows for similar analyses at the federal and state levels and comparisons across states. To best understand what is reported, we report on data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) housed in the Institute of Education Sciences, the science branch of the USDOE, and describe how attendance data are collected, reported, and used at the national level. We share similar findings for two representative US states − Connecticut and Indiana − to highlight similarities and differences between them, and their “best practices.” Key results from these multiple levels of analyses are then discussed, with the goal of informing research, practice, and policy related to school attendance, so that students of all ages and from all backgrounds are provided the opportunity to obtain optimal benefits from schooling throughout their school careers.
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    Mediational Effect of Teacher-Based Discrimination on Academic Performance: An Intersectional Analysis of Race, Gender, and Income/Class
    (MDPI, 2023-04) Kyere, Eric; Hong, Saahoon; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; School of Social Work
    Drawing on prior research, this study applies an intersectional framework to investigate discrimination in the context of teacher–student relationships and its influence on students’ academic outcomes. Outcomes assessed were inclusive of self-efficacy, school attendance, and grade point average (GPA). For this analysis, structural equation modeling was used with a cross-sectional sample of the Maryland and Adolescent Development in Context Study (MADICS) and the youth self-administered (YSA) questionnaires administered when the youth were in 8th grade (Wave 3). A total of 1182 students completed the survey, of whom 704 were selected for this study. Findings show teacher discrimination as a mechanism to uncover some of the ways race, gender, and income simultaneously intersect to affect students’ academic outcomes. The current study confirms and extends prior work establishing associations among race, gender, income, and teacher discrimination and academic outcomes among African American youth. African American students, especially males, regardless of income levels, may benefit directly—evidenced in visible academic performance—from more positive and race-conscious interactions with teachers. Future implications for practice are shared.
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    Four-Phase Intergroup Dialogue Inclusivity Posters
    (IUPUI Intergroup Dialogue, 2018) Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Renguette, Corinne; Griffith, Daniel; White-Mills, Kim; Wright, Tamra
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    Master Social Work Students’ Explicit and Implicit Articulation of Theory
    (2022-05-31) McCarthy, Katherine M.; Bragg, Natasha W.M.; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn
    Theories that explain Human Behavior and the Social Environment are integral to social workers' conceptualization of their role and practice. Scaffolding the capacity to recognize, apply, and evaluate theory, however, is not easy. Learning how to comprehend and accurately apply theory can be a real struggle for graduate students enrolled in a Masters of Social Work (MSW) program. The purpose of this study was to identify and categorize patterns of how MSW students think about theory in the learning process. This qualitative analysis of 120 anonymous student responses to a case by students in an online MSW program explores the variety of theories students are explicitly identifying. The qualitative analysis offers insights into online Masters level social work students' ways of thinking and learning about theory. Bloom's taxonomy was applied to differentiate MSW students' use of theory. This study also demonstrates that students are not only applying theory explicitly, but often do so implicitly, perhaps without realizing so. By exploring how students construct their understanding of theory and how they vary between implicit theory usage and explicit theory articulation, HBSE educators can identify how to best prepare these students for their future careers.
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    A Model for Crafting Diversity, Inclusion, Respect, and Equity (DIRE) Policy Statements Toward Catalyzing Organizational Change
    (American Chemical Society, 2021-03-24) Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn; Merritt, Breanca; Kimble-Hill, Ann C.; School of Social Work
    We present a model for STEM organizations to write catalytic diversity, inclusion, respect, and equity (DIRE) policy statements as structured steps for sustained action.