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Title:An analysis of the self-reported explanations for student absence
Author(s):Owens-Smith, Katherine
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rodgers, Frederick A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Secondary
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This study examined the self-reported explanations, factors and reasons that contributed to the school absence of students in an urban high school. The study was conducted because poor school attendance is a growing administrative concern that effects the academic, social and financial aspects of schooling. Although the consequences of school absence are particularly acute in urban high schools, the literature does little to detail the specific factors, reasons and explanations involved in the problem.
In this study the entire student body of an urban high school with a 70% attendance rate was surveyed. A researcher-developed instrument was used to examine the scope of the reasons for school absence in general and on a particular day of absence, Day X. The instrument consisted of 42 closed-ended and 12 open-ended items. Student confidentiality was maintained to reduce personal risk and maximize the honesty of the respondents. Special care was taken to select a normal day for surveying.
As a result of statistical analysis and hypothesis testing these findings were significant: (1) The 10 most frequently given reasons for absence were sickness, medical/dental appointments, oversleeping, death/funerals, needed at home, transportation problems, personal problems, dislike of teachers, staying out late and doing well enough to miss sometimes. (2) No one at home caring was reported on the survey as having the least effect on attendance although student interviews place it as one of the primary reasons. (3) Babysitting, fear of another student, intention of leaving school, and fear of gangs were some of the least cited reasons. (4) There was no significant difference between the responses of students who were absent on Day X and those present on Day X. (5) Sophomores had the most negative attitudes about school which contributed to school absence. (6) For the most part activities on a day of absence centered around the home. (7) There was almost no relationship between the student's acknowledgements that absences effected their grades and their attendance patterns. (8) Male absences were more influenced by school. However, the primary absence influences for both male and female students originated from the community and the home.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Owens-Smith, Katherine
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512505
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512505

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