Background of the Problem
The success of the school in carrying out its primary
charge of educating and socializing students is contingent on students attending school regularly.
In recognition of the
importance of regular school attendance to quality education, attendance becomes a priority goal (At-Risk Youth in Crisis
Educators have long emphasized the importance of class
attendance. Only in the classroom may the student hear the
teacher's presentation, participate in class discussions, and enjoy the benefits of spontaneous interactions between the
students and teacher.
It comes as no surprise that students
with high absence rates earn lower grades than students with better attendance (Redick & Nicoll 1990).
Fleming and Zafirau
found that over three-fourths of school failure rates were
explained by the attendance rate (Fleming & Zafirau 1982).
Student absenteeism has been a problem for years.
departments of education and school boards across the country have
To improve achievement, many districts
student absence (Redick & Nicoll 1990).
A survey of 547 Iowa
School principals showed that 58% reduce grades for excessive absences (Bartlett Vol.16).
In 1985, it was estimated that
twelve Texas school districts adopted a rule that any student with five absences during a semester would not receive credit, subject to appeal (Ligon 1990).
procedures and district-wide attendance programs to address
the reoccurring problem of student attendance.
Public Schools adopted a policy similar to some of the school districts in Texas which includes failure of a high school
subject after five unexcused absences for a specific marking period (Ligon, 1990).
The School Board of Newport News Public Schools during
the 1995-1996 school year adopted the new attendance policy
for full implementation beginning with the 1996-1997 school
In summer of June 3, 1996 the interim superintendent was
named by the school board. He was appointed superintendent of schools November 20, 1996.
The newly elected school board
requested data from the superintendent that would determine if the
causal-comparative study addresses the need for an evaluation of
attendance program and its perceived effects on high school
Purpose of the Study
School divisions must collect and examine data regarding
policies and programs that are designed to improve student
attendance to provide school boards and administrators with
evidence of their effectiveness.
The purpose of this study is
to conduct an evaluation of Newport News Public Schools newly introduced attendance policy and program in order to determine their perceived effects after one year of implementation.
Rationale for the Study
The need to collect and analyze attendance data gave
impetus to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Newport News Public Schools current attendance policy and program. The study helped the superintendent in providing the school board, central office administrators, building level administrators, teachers, parents, students, business leaders, and communities of Newport News Public Schools with evidence that determined the effectiveness of a newly adopted attendance policy and
attendance program on student attendance.
The study benefited
the school division by providing the current policy committee and
assist committee members in developing division attendance
policies that would have a direct effect on thousands of
The study further offered future superintendents
and school boards with historical data upon which to base
their decisions as they deliberate on future policies for
This study addresses the overall research question:
Is the new attendance policy and attendance program
of Newport News Public Schools effective as
indicated by statistical analyses of attendance
data, students, parents, and teachers perceptions,
and programmatic data after one year of
implementation at the high school level?
The specific research questions that were investigated are:
interaction between grade level (9, 10, 11 for
year 1995-1996) and gender (male, female) with
attendance after adjusting for initial
What are the perceptions of students, parents,
and teachers regarding the new attendance
policy and attendance program after one year
Is the Saturday Redemptive School affecting
the pass rate of participants after one year
Significance of the Study
This study attempted to describe whether the Newport
News Public Schools attendance policy and attendance program improves
provided valuable data to Newport News Public Schools and
other local school divisions regarding the effectiveness of
school attendance policies and attendance programs.
study adds data to the limited research database pertaining to the evaluation of attendance policies and attendance programs.
Definition of Terms
Virginia, Section 22.1-254, requires that all children who
have reached their fifth birthday on or before September 30th and who have not yet reached their 18th birthday must attend school.
Attendance Policy – According to Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, Newport News Public Schools is committed to the
academic success of all students. It is also committed to the belief that all students must have the opportunity to achieve full development of their potential through the acquisition of values, attitudes, knowledge, and skills essential to becoming productive adults.
The school division requires students
attend school daily so that they will receive the maximum
benefit from the instructional program and develop habits of punctuality, self-discipline, and responsibility.
All parties involved in the educational process attempt
responsibility of students and parents.
In order for parents
to fulfill their legal responsibility, the school is required to keep parents informed of student absences.
Parents have an
obligation to keep the school informed whenever their child is absent.
Within one calendar month of the opening of school, the
principal of each school will send to the parents or guardian of
compulsory school attendance requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia (See Appendix A).
Attendance Program refers to the Saturday Redemptive School
for high school students who have more than five absences in a marking period from any class due to reasons other than those which exempt the student from the sanctions of the attendance policy.
Saturday Redemptive School (SRS) is defined by the Rights and Responsibilities Handbook as a school established at a central location to accommodate those students who have missed one or more days from an individual class or school and want to
Transportation is not provided for students attending the
Saturday Redemptive School program.
each high school a redemptive option for students who face
sanctions for excessive absences.
redemptive option will provide an opportunity for students to address attendance deficiencies that have caused them to be
subject to the sanctions of the attendance policy.
will have no more than ten administrative working days beyond
applicable) to fulfill a redemptive option.
After the close
of a marking period or semester, the maximum number of days
that can be redeemed to avoid a sanction will be two days (See Appendix B).
High Schools refer to the five high schools (grades 9-12) in Newport News Public Schools.
Perception refers to the mental image or concept interpreted by teachers, parents, and students regarding Newport News
Public Schools’ attendance policy and attendance program.
For example, the study concentrates on high school
student attendance, effectiveness of Saturday
Redemptive School, and perceptions of high school students,
parents, and teachers because the school division decided to allocate and reallocate a majority of the attendance resources and funding from the elementary and middle school attendance program to the high school attendance program.
An additional delimitation is that the study is limited
to the evaluation and implementation of the attendance policy and program after one year of implementation.
Organization of the Study
This study is divided into five chapters. Chapter One
provides the background of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance of the study, definition of terms,
Chapter Two presents a review of related literature
importance of attendance, historical overview of attendance, historical overview of the attendance policy in Newport News Public Schools, descriptions of related attendance policies, descriptions of related attendance programs, and students',
parents', and teachers' perceptions of attendance policies.
Chapter Three details the methodology used in the study.
developed to collect data, statistical analyses, interview
conclusions, and recommendations of the study.