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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Maryland: Project Demonstrates Importance of Leveraging Data to Promote Student Health and Academic Success

Having a health condition can place a student at risk for absenteeism and performing less well academically. Information systems in schools can be leveraged to understand the needs of students with health conditions and how interventions to improve health could result in better academic outcomes.

A demonstration project funded by the Maryland Department of Health was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in collaboration with Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS). GCPS provided de-identified student-level data from the 2016-2017 academic year for approximately 3,700 students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. The dataset included information about health conditions, grades, and absences. Analyses were conducted to describe the relationships between health status and academic outcomes. The results were recently published in Health Promotion Practice.

Key findings include:

The paper discusses the challenges and opportunities for schools interested in learning more about the connection between health and academic performance. “Improving the health of students has great potential for boosting their scholastic achievement. This demonstration project highlights how data can be used to tailor strategies to help students with health conditions.” said Dr. Amelia Arria, a professor at the University of Maryland and co-author of the paper.

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