Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cooper, Robb, 1951-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership in Educational and Sport Organizations


School superintendents--Illinois--Attitudes; Absenteeism (Labor)--Illinois


The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of Illinois school superintendents regarding their level of concern over teacher absenteeism, their level of interest in absence reduction programs, and their perceptions of the effectiveness of absence reduction programs in reducing teacher absences. A 25-question survey was mailed to 891 Illinois superintendents during the 2001–2002 school year. Data were analyzed and disaggregated by size of district (under 1,000 students, 1,000–3,500 students, and more than 3,500 students), type of district (urban, suburban, or rural), and configuration of district (elementary, high school, or unit). This study revealed that Illinois superintendents were evenly divided in their level of concern over teacher absences. Their concerns centered on the shortage of substitute teachers and the impact of teacher absences on the quality of instruction. Small and rural districts had significantly fewer concerns over teacher absences than did large and urban or suburban districts. Most superintendents were not interested in absence reduction plans that used cash bonus plans, distribution of unused substitute dollars, or a district “buy back” of unused sick days. Superintendents showed significantly more interest in recognition and/or noncash absence reduction programs. The majority of superintendents surveyed perceived that an absence reduction plan would be ineffective in reducing absences. Significant differences were found when the data were disaggregated among rural, urban, and suburban districts as well as among large, mid-size, and small districts. In conclusion, school districts were encouraged to (a) collect and review their own absence data to determine the nature of their attendance issues; (b) proceed with caution before adopting absence reduction plans and include input from stakeholder groups before implementation; (c) give consideration to the impact of absence policies and procedures on teacher absence rates; and (d) consider an absence reduction plan that includes recognition, feedback, evaluation, and incentives. Recommendations for further study included repetition of the survey with teachers to see if their perceptions differ from superintendents, repetition of the study in another state, and a focused study on large urban and suburban districts where there was greater concern over teacher absences and greater interest in absence reduction plans.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [100]-104)


vii, 109 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type