This section provides definitions of the terms used throughout this literature review to understand the terminology that is used.

  • Chronic Absenteeism: Connecticut’s Deptartment of Education defines it as a student missing 10% or a minimum of 15 days out of a 180-day academic calendar (CSDE, 2023).
  • Dropout: Defined as a student who didn’t have accessible resources or adequate support to achieve academic success.
  • Engaging environment: Defined as an inclusive learning environment for students who do not respond to the traditional learning environment.
  • Exosystem: Defined as environmental situations that students are not directly a part of, but it directly affects them. This includes their parent’s workplace, local policy changes, mass media, school districts and social services.
  • Focus groups: Defined as a type of group interview consisting of combined local perspectives from people with similar characteristics.
  • Interventions: Referred to as academic, behavioral, family or policy involvement with specific procedures to gain the most positive outcomes. This includes changing grading policies, assisting students with strengthening academic skills, implementing social and emotional programs, inclusion of family members and applying broad federal policies to district practices.
  • Low income: Refers to students from underprivileged families that must make ends meet on low wages.
  • Macrosystems: Referred to as the cultural and societal components that impact students’ development and how students are raised. This includes social norms, economic systems, political systems, and nationality. 


  • Mental health: Refers to changes in one’s mental well-being due to biological factors, life experiences or family health history.
  • Mesosystem: Defined as the connection between the microsystems. This includes teacher-parent relationships and sibling-parent relationships.
  • Microsystem: Refers to the closest influences on students such as parents, religion, friends, and school.
  • School climate: Defined as the quality of the school’s social and educational environment. This includes the schools culture regarding academic support programs, mental health support services, school safety and teacher-student relationships.
  • Standards-based grading: Includes an alternative way to measure students’ academic achievements in an inclusive manner unlike the traditional grading system.
  • Risk behaviors: Defined as certain decisions students make that will likely result in unintentional negative outcomes. Examples of risk behaviors include fighting, sexting, truancy and illegal drug or alcohol use.
  • Truancy: Connecticut’s Deptartment of Education defines it as a student who has a minimum of four unexcused absences within a month, or ten unexcused absences within a school year (CSDE, 2023).
  • Urban school districts: Referred to areas with a population of at least 50,000 people from diverse backgrounds (Oswego, 2022). Urban school districts are generally characterized by inadequate funding, large opportunity gaps, predominantly students of color, high teacher turnover rates and low graduation rates (Oswego, 2022)

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