Secondary school attendance policies in Indiana, attendance and withdrawal percentages, and other selected factors : a multi-variate analysis

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McMillan, Nancy C.
Drake, Thelbert L.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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The purpose of this study was to determine if any relationship exists among the factors of:(1) strictness of a secondary school's attendance policy,(2) its attendance percentages, and(3) its withdrawal/expulsion/push out percentages with respect to the school's:(4) student enrollment totals of grades seven through twelve;(5) proximity to an urban or metropolitan area; and(6) socio-economic status of the students.This quantitative study involved four (4) independent variables [policy strictness, enrollment size, urban location, and SES] and two (2) dependent variables [attendance percentages and withdrawal percentages]. Six (6) null hypotheses were tested.A questionnaire was sent to the principal of each of the 668 secondary schools which housed any combination of grades 7 through 12. The primary focus of the survey instrument was to have the schools self-determine the strictness of their attendance policies which were in effect for the 1989-90 school year.The attendance, withdrawal, SES, urban type, and enrollment size data were obtained from the Indiana Department of Education office in Indianapolis. The 1989-90 school year data was used. Each school's DOE-AG (Attendance & Graduates) and DOE-WD (Withdrawal) statistics reported in June of 1990 was compared to the questionnaire answers.Three (3) two-way analysis of variance tests (ANOVA) and F-tests for mean differences were used in the treatment of the data. Post hoc tests using the LSD procedure were also used on all groups showing significant differences at the 0.05 level.Eight of the twelve F-tests showed significant differences at the .05 level and in fact were found to be below a .001 level of probability that the differences were by chance. Also, significant interaction was found between two of the groups (policy group and urban type) when compared to attendance percentage.The findings were:(1) Attendance was most influenced by school size and urban type location than the other factors of policy strictness or socio-economic status of the students. Attendance rates were the poorest in large schools and in schools located closer to urban areas.(2) Withdrawal rates were to be highest in large schools and in schools located in metropolitan areas.(3) Strictness of a school's attendance policy did not seem to have a predictable impact upon the attendance rates of the student body with respect to the school's size, urban location, or the socio-economic status of the students.