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absenteeism

By sheyee_bie Sep 24, 2014 1570 Words
1

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

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
Handbook, 1993).
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.

State

departments of education and school boards across the country have

developed

primarily

with

policies,
the

procedures,

objective

of

and

reducing

programs
and

aimed

preventing

2

student absenteeism.
have

adopted

To improve achievement, many districts

policies

calling

for

academic

student absence (Redick & Nicoll 1990).

penalties

for

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).
Newport
attendance
district

News

policy
has

Public
for

Schools

has

approximately

developed

individual

relied
fifteen

on

the

years.

student

same
The

attendance

procedures and district-wide attendance programs to address
the reoccurring problem of student attendance.

Newport News

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
year.
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

new

attendance

policy

and

attendance

program

were

3

affecting

the

attendance

of

high

school

students.

This

causal-comparative study addresses the need for an evaluation of

Newport

News

Public

Schools

attendance

policy

and

attendance program and its perceived effects on high school
student attendance.

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

4

attendance program on student attendance.

The study benefited

the school division by providing the current policy committee and

future

policy

committees

with

valuable

data

that

may

assist committee members in developing division attendance
policies that would have a direct effect on thousands of
children.

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
possible adoption.

Research Questions

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:
(1)

Is

there

a

statistically

significant

interaction between grade level (9, 10, 11 for
year 1995-1996) and gender (male, female) with
respect

to

year

1996-1997

high

attendance after adjusting for initial

school

5

differences

on

the

1995-1996

high

school

attendance?
(2)

What are the perceptions of students, parents,
and teachers regarding the new attendance
policy and attendance program after one year
of implementation?

(3)

Is the Saturday Redemptive School affecting
the pass rate of participants after one year
of implementation?

Significance of the Study

This study attempted to describe whether the Newport
News Public Schools attendance policy and attendance program improves

student

attendance.

The

results

of

this

study

provided valuable data to Newport News Public Schools and
other local school divisions regarding the effectiveness of
school attendance policies and attendance programs.

This

study adds data to the limited research database pertaining to the evaluation of attendance policies and attendance programs.

6

Definition of Terms

Attendance



attendance

is

According

to

monitored

on

Newport
a

daily

News

Public

basis.

The

Schools,
Code

of

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
to

work

minimum.

cooperatively
However,

to

keep

student

absences

attendance

responsibility of students and parents.

and
at

tardies
school

is

to

a

the

In order for parents

to fulfill their legal responsibility, the school is required to keep parents informed of student absences.

Parents have an

7

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

each

student

enrolled

in

the

school

a

copy

of

the

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

address

their

assignments,

attendance

deficiencies

homework,

and

other

by

completing

academic

class

work.

Transportation is not provided for students attending the
Saturday Redemptive School program.

There

will

be

in

each high school a redemptive option for students who face
sanctions for excessive absences.

This

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.

A student

will have no more than ten administrative working days beyond

8

the

end

of

the

marking

period

or

semester

applicable) to fulfill a redemptive option.

(whichever

is

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.

Delimitations

One
community.

delimitation

is

that

the

study

focuses

on

one

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.

9

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,
study.
which

delimitations/limitations,

and

organization

of

the

Chapter Two presents a review of related literature
includes

the

following

sections:

introduction,

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.
chapter

includes

the

subjects,

instrumentation,

This

procedures

developed to collect data, statistical analyses, interview
analysis,

and

internal-external

describes

the

tables.

Chapter

findings
Five

of

the

validity.
study

presents

the

Chapter

Four

including

charts and

summary,

discussion,

conclusions, and recommendations of the study.

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