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School, how some re-entry students see it Serediuk, Leona Margaret 1984

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SCHOOL, HOW SOME RE-ENTRY STUDENTS SEE IT by @ ) Leona Margaret Serediuk B . A . , University of Saskatchewan, 1968 B . E d . , University of Saskatchewan, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Counselling Psychology I accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard Norm Amundson, Ph.D. J3tbp e l i s o r Bob Armstrong, Ph.D. Larry Cochran, Ph.~D. THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1984 / c 'Leona Margaret Serediuk, 3.984 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ,//j-sUs^L^ The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date •A, DE-6 (3/81) i ABSTRACT F a c t o r s w h i c h r e l a t e t o c o n t i n u e d a t t e n d a n c e and t o d r o p o u t a t s c h o o l were i n v e s t i g a t e d i n t h i s s t u d y . The C r i t i c a l I n c i d e n t T e c h n i q u e was u s ed t o i n t e r v i e w 22 f e m a l e and ma l e s u b j e c t s , aged 12 t o 16, i n a R e - E n t r y p r o g r a m . I t was f o u n d t h a t s u b j e c t s r e s p o n d e d on t h r e e l e v e l s ; t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e s c h o o l s y s t e m , t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h o t h e r s t u d e n t s and s c h o o l p e r s o n n e l and t h e m e a n i n g o f s c h o o l i n t h e i r l i v e s . The p r o c e s s o f c a t e g o r i z a t i o n r e s u l t e d i n s e v e n c a t e g o r i e s ; SCHOOL STRUCTURE, SCHOOL AUTHORITY, SCH00LW0RK, TEACHERS, STUDENTS, PERSONAL A C T I V I T I E S o r INFLUENCE o f PEERS, and FAMILY INFLUENCES. E a ch o f t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s i n c l u d e d c r i t i c a l i n c i d e n t s t h a t , i n t h e s u b j e c t ' s o p i n i o n , f a c i l i t a t e d t h e i r c o n t i n u e d a t t e n d a n c e a t s c h o o l and h i n d e r e d t h e i r s t a y i n g i n s c h o o l . i i Table of Contents Page L i s t of Tables iv Acknowledgements v Chapter I Introduction 1 Background to the problem 1 The Problem 7 The Question 8 Del imitations of the Study 8 Importance of the Study 8 Def in i t ion of Terms 9 Chapter II Review of Li terature 11 Overview 11 Character i s t i cs of the Dropout 12 Patterns of Dropping Out 15 Predictors of Dropout 17 The Dropout's School Experience 17 After Dropout 19 School Attendance 20 Summary 23 Chapter III Methodology 25 The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique 25 P i lo t Study 30 Interview Structure 31 Population 33 Organization of the Data 35 i i i Chapter IV Results 36 Statement of Results 36 R e l i a b i l i t y of Categories 41 Frequency of Factors 42 Table I 43 Table II 43 Table III 44 Table IV 45 Table V 46 Discussion of Results 47 Summary of Results 52 Chapter V Conclusions 54 Interpretat ion of Results 54 Theoret ical Signif icance 57 Prac t i ca l Signif icance and Recommendations for Implementation of Findings 59 Recommendations for Addit ional Research . . . . 66 Bibliography 67 Appendices 72 Appendix A: Letter to Burnaby School Board . 73 Appendix B: Letter from Burnaby School Board 74 Appendix C: Letter from School Pr inc ipa l . . . 75 Appendix D: Student Consent Form 76 Appendix E: Parent Consent Form 76 Appendix F: Average Daily Attendance 77 Appendix G: Dropout Rate 78 Appendix H: F a c i l i t a t i n g Factors 79 Appendix I: Hindering Factors 80 iv L i s t of Tables Page Table I: Factors Contributing to Continued Attendance 43 Table II : Factors Contributing to Dropping out 43 Table III : Frequency of Factors Relating to Continued Attendance 44 Table IV: Frequency of Factors Relating to Dropping Out 45 Table V: Frequency of Factors Relating to Continuous Attendance Compared to Frequency of Factors Relating to Dropping Out 46 V A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s I w i s h t o e x p r e s s my t h a n k s t o D r . Norm Amundson, t h e C h a i r p e r s o n o f my t h e s i s c o m m i t t e e and t o D r . Bob A r m s t r o n g , and D r . L a r r y C o c h r a n , my c o m m i t t e e members . My a p p r e c i a t i o n goes t o t h e s t u d e n t s a t t h e W i n d s o r R e - E n t r y P r o g r a m who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e s t u d y . T h e i r f r a n k n e s s , and e n t h u s i a s m w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h i s p r o j e c t , i n s p i r e d me t o c o m p l e t e t h e r e s e a r c h . I w o u l d a l s o l i k e t o e x p r e s s my g r a t i t u d e t o t h e s t a f f o f t h e W i n d s o r R e - E n t r y P r o g r a m f o r t h e i r d o n a t i o n o f t i m e and f o r t h e i r s u p p o r t . T h a n k s t o t h e f o u r j u d g e s o f t h e c a t e g o r y s y s t e m ; S u s an G i o i a , Ron H i l l , D a v i d K i n g , and G e r i M c D o n a l d . S p e c i a l t h a n k s t o t h e f r i e n d s who t o o k an i n t e r e s t i n my work and gave t h e i r h e l p and e n c o u r a g e m e n t . CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Background to the Problem Attendance at school, in B r i t i s h Columbia, Canada, i s compulsory for chi ldren aged 7 to 15. The School Act (1982) states in Part 6, Div i s ion 1 - Compulsory Attendance: Section 113 Subsection 1; Subject to exemptions under subsection (2), every ch i ld over the age of 7 years and under the age of 15 years sha l l attend some public school during the regular school hours every school day, and every parent or guardian who f a i l s or neglects to cause such a ch i ld under his care to attend some public school during the regular school hours every school day commits an offense and i s l i a b l e on convict ion to a f ine not exceeding $10, and each day's continuance of this f a i l u r e or neglect sha l l constitute a separate offense. Exemptions are granted i f a ch i ld i s being educated by other sat i s factory means, i s s ick , has reached a standing equal or better than the l o c a l school or i s not within 4.8 kilometers of a school . Since there i s no apparent movement to change the attendance requirements, one can conclude that the majority of B r i t i s h Columbians agree that a ch i ld has a r ight to an 2 education and that that r ight must be protected by compulsory attendance laws. However, not a l l chi ldren aged 7 to 15 attend school on a regular basis and a few chi ldren in this age range drop out altogether. The extent of the lack of attendance and dropout i s not known. Average da i ly attendance reports (Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, 1981) for the 1980-81 school year, in B r i t i s h Columbia, show an overa l l average of 93.4?. For schools containing Junior Secondary students, the rate of attendance was s l i g h t l y lower at 92.3% (see Appendix F ) . The National Center for Health in the United States estimates that a normal school absentee rate due to i l l n e s s would average 4 to 5% ( N e i l l , 1979). One can assume that the Canadian i l l n e s s rate would be very s i m i l a r . Therefore, approximately 2.7? of a l l Junior Secondary students miss school on any one day for reasons other than i l l n e s s . However, while figures do not indicate a high degree of truancy, concern continues to be expressed. In 1974, when the average dai ly attendance for students in the 7 to 15 age range was reported to be 9155 (104 Annual Report, Ministry of Education, 1975), the then Minister of 3 Education in B r i t i s h Columbia, The Honourable Eileen D a i l l y , tabled the following in the B . C . Legis lature (Ministry of Education, 1974); . . . whatever the reasons, there i s a serious problem of non-attendance of students between the ages of 7 and 15. S i m i l a r l y , in the United States, a survey of 1,414 administrators ( N e i l l , 1979) indicated that the majority of administrators thought attendance was a problem. They l i s t e d "casual" class cutt ing , tardiness and whole day truancy among their concerns. In a report by the Phi Delta Kappa Education Foundation (Bamber, 1979), serious charges are made regarding student absenteeism; Unauthorized absences are increasing while data gathered by the National Center for Education s t a t i s t i c s show a continuing decline in the percentage of student absences nat iona l ly . The current annual rate of student absenteeism i s 8% nat ional ly but dai ly rates of 30% are not uncommon in urban secondary schools. . . . another contributing factor to stable absentee f igures may be that they are inaccurate because state funding i s based on average dai ly attendance. The report admits that i t would be impossible for schools to hide large numbers of truants but points out that there are small numbers who check in for dai ly attendance and then do not attend classes . In C a l i f o r n i a , ( N e i l l , . 1979), physical counts of students in classrooms showed actual attendance was substant ia l ly below that reported by school d i s t r i c t s for purposes of a l loca t ion of state funds. The counts were taken by s taf f members of the off ice of the state auditor general in a random sample of 1,780 classrooms in 48 schools in the f a l l of 1978. The average dai ly attendance over a l l grades was 83.8%; i t f e l l as low as 75.9%. The average dai ly attendance that had been reported for aid purposes was 96%. A study by the Ontario Ministry of Education (1979) found that while a rate of 10% was quite common, absenteeism in some schools was approaching 20%. It i s equally as d i f f i c u l t to es tabl i sh the extent of the dropout problem as i t i s to f ind actual attendance rates . The percentage of 14 to 17 year olds enrol led in High School increased from 11% in 1900 to 94% in 1978 (Grant and Eiden, 1980). However, recent evidence indicates that this trend may be reversing. Enrolment data for the state of 5 Ohio shows that the number of dropouts has increased 15% from the 1975-76 school year to the 1978-79 school year (Kaeser, 1980). In C a l i f o r n i a , the a t t r i t i o n rate between the 9th and 12th grades increased from 12% in 1967 to 22% in 1976 (Camp, 1980). Furthermore; Although most states and school d i s t r i c t s do not keep exact records on dropouts, evidence indicates that the percentage of dropouts i s increas ing . Washington for example, recorded an average 68% increase in the number of dropouts from 1962 to 1976. The state figures show, moreover, that the actual dropout rates are higher than indicated because summer dropouts are not included in o f f i c i a l t a l l i e s ( N e i l l , 1979). In B r i t i s h Columbia, the dropout rate i s calculated as a percentage of the June Enrolment (Educational Data Services, 1979). Summer dropouts are not counted and there i s no systematic follow-up of student transfers to ensure that students who withdraw from a school, reg is ter in another. For these reasons and the reporting feature that dropout f igures are given by type of school, eg. Elementary, Elementary Junior , Elementary Senior, e t c . , i t i s impossible to f ind out from these records how many chi ldren under 15 have dropped out of school. One can conclude, since the method of ca lcu la t ing the dropout rate has remained the same, that the rate of dropout has remained f a i r l y constant after a s l ight increase in the early 1970's (see Appendix G). 6 In addit ion to the inadequacy of the present method of recording student dropout, there i s some cause for concern about the accuracy of the records. Anyone who has worked in a school knows of instances of keeping "Johnny" on the r o l l u n t i l his f i f teenth birthday when he can l ega l l y withdraw from school, or keeping "Jenny" on the enrolment u n t i l the end of September when student enrolment i s reported to the Ministry of Education in V i c t o r i a , B . C . , even though i t i s common knowledge that "Jenny" and her parents have returned to l i v e in Scotland. Also, a school p r i n c i p a l in North Saanich was f i r e d , recently , for keeping students who were not attending school on the school register (The Province, January 2, 1984). For several decades, researchers have attempted to ident i fy the factors related to school dropout. However, in spite of the numerous corre la t iona l studies and the resultant l i s t s of factors , research on students who leave school early continues. One of the reasons for this i s that few of the factors have been found to be r e l i a b l e predictors of school dropout (Brantner and Enderl ien, 1972). Another reason i s that while school boards have responded to the research y i e ld ing prof i l e s of dropouts and patterns of dropping out by expanding educational a l ternat ives (Smith, Barr, and Burke, 1976), by increasing 7 special classes, learning assistance centers, counsell ing and other support services , the dropout rate has remained f a i r l y constant (see Appendix G) . The Problem Some chi ldren , aged 12 to 15, do not attend school on a regular basis and some quit school altogether. By doing so, they deprive themselves of their r ight to an education. We believe that a major re spons ib i l i t y of the school system i s to provide a measure of success for every student. The fact that i t f a i l s to do this in some instances c a l l s for an examination of the whole structure within which the student i s expected to learn (Ministry of Education, 1974). This research examines from the point of view of the students themselves, how the structure f a i l e d for them. It e l i c i t s detai led reco l lec t ions of events that occurred while the subjects were in attendance in regular school. It uses the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954) to analyze the information col lected and ident i fy the factors that people who have dropped out of the regular school system see as c r i t i c a l to continuous attendance at school and c r i t i c a l to dropping out of school. 8 The Question What are the factors that Re-Entry students see as helpful in maintaining them in school and factors that they see as contributing to their dropping out or suspension from school? Del imitat ions of the Study This study i s l imited to 22 Re-Entry students, aged 12 to 16, in Burnaby, B r i t i s h Columbia. No claims are being made as to the extent to which the subjects are typ i ca l of Junior Secondary school students who drop out of school. S i m i l a r l y , one can only speculate as to the l ike l ihood of stayins having school experiences that are s imi lar to those of the research subjects. Importance of the Study The subjects in th is study are students in a Re-Entry program. They attend a Rehabi l i tat ion program s p e c i f i c a l l y set up for students who were unable to cope with the regular school system or for students with whom the regular 9 school system was unable to cope. Whether dropouts or pushouts, the subjects have a l l experienced considerable d i f f i c u l t y within the regular school system and by virtue of that are experts on why some students feel l i k e dropping out. The review of the l i t e r a t u r e reveals that the research rarely focuses on the actual school experience of the dropout. Some studies with dropouts have t r i ed to e l i c i t the reasons for dropping out (Pawlovich, 1983) or the needs of dropout students (Larter and Gershman, 1979) d i r e c t l y from the dropout. What these studies have lacked i s a systematic, r e l i a b l e and v a l i d method of analysis of the data co l l ec ted . The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954) provides such a method. The results of this research provide data for comparison with the l i t e r a t u r e regarding factors re la t ing to school dropout. They also provide information about the supportive aspects of the school environment. Def in i t ion of Terms dropout - "a pupil who leaves school, for any reason except death, before graduation or completion of a program of studies and without transferr ing to another school (Schreiber, Kaplan, and Strom, 1965). 10 early school leaver - see "dropout". pushout - a student who is formally or informally excluded from school. Re-Entry program - a program designed for chi ldren who have had more that one month absence from school for reasons other than death or i l l n e s s . regular basis - on a l l days for which there i s not a v a l i d excuse for absence. Va l id excuses would include i l l n e s s , and bereavement of close re la t ive or fr iend for a period not exceeding one month. Va l id excuses would not include employment, lack of motivation, or parent consent, except as above. regular school - a l l programs within the public school system including special classes within schools but excluding Re-Entry programs. stayins - students who are not dropouts. 11 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE Overview Although somewhat dated, a commentary and annotated bibliography ( M i l l e r , Saleem, and Bryce, 1964) attempts to p u l l together the enormous l i t e r a t u r e of school dropouts. What i t does for the researcher is catalogue the major areas of concern. These are; de f in i t i on of dropout population, methods of data c o l l e c t i o n , research design, community var ia t ions , types of dropouts, the process of dropping out and interpretat ion of research resu l t s . Another comprehensive and c r i t i c a l review of dropout research with concrete suggestions for design and conduct of future research, by the National Education Association in Washington (Schreiber, Kaplan, and Strom, 1965) states; The most helpful way to view dropout studies i s in terms of their purpose. They ident i fy six questions that have dominated the research to date; how many pupils drop out of school, who are the dropouts and what are they l i k e , which pupils w i l l 12 drop out, what happens to dropouts and what ways and means can be developed to reduce dropout rates. 0 Schreiber et al go on to say that the recognition that each dropout i s an ind iv idua l influenced by forces in his own par t i cu lar environment i s more meaningful than the p r o f i l e of the dropout. The l a t t e r suggests that each dropout is the same as the next. F i n a l l y , the book suggests guidelines for research. Examples are; a common de f in i t i on for dropout, a standardized information form on students for s t a t i s t i c a l purposes, a model guidance form for ind iv idua l pupi l s , and standardized methods of ca lcu la t ing dropout rates and holding power. Character i s t i c s of the Dropout Cervantes (1965) has made one of the major contributions to the p r o f i l e of the dropout. While the usefulness of this concept comes more and more into question, his f indings stand as a challenge to further research. Using an interview method, questionnaires and the Thematic Apperception Test, with a population of 300 dropouts and stayins, he ident i f i ed 20 charac ter i s t i c s 13 commonly found among youth who are actual or potential dropouts. The 20 charac ter i s t i c s were divided into four groups; school re lated, family re lated, peer related and personal i ty . The 8 school related charac ter i s t i c s are; two years behind in reading or arithmetic at the 7th grade, f a i l u r e of one or more years, i rregular attendance and frequent tardiness , below potent ia l performance, no p a r t i c i p a t i o n in ex tracurr icu lar a c t i v i t i e s , frequent change of schools, behavior problems, and fee l ing of not belonging. The 6 family related charac ter i s t i c s are; more chi ldren than parents can readi ly contro l , parents inconsistent in affect ion and d i s c i p l i n e , unhappy family s i tua t ion , father weak or absent, parents have eighth grade l eve l education and few family fr iends . Those charac ter i s t i c s related to peers, 3 in number, are; friends not approved of by parents, friends not school oriented and friends much older or much younger. F i n a l l y , the 3 charac ter i s t i c s related to personality are; resentful of a l l authority , deferred g r a t i f i c a t i o n pattern is weak and the person has a weak se l f image. Childers (1965) found the s ign i f i cant differences between 9th grade dropouts and stayins to be; to ta l number 14 of times an ind iv idua l has been retained in a grade in elementary school, socio-economic pos i t ion , t o ta l number of a c t i v i t i e s the student part ic ipated in while at school, the pup i l ' s occupational aspirat ion l eve l and measurement on a school interest inventory. In his research f indings , Levens (1970) concluded that dropout i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y associated with one parent family, s i b l i n g competition, physical differences from peers, antagonism to teachers, emotional disturbance, car ownership and males, " i l l eg i t imate" parenthood amongst females, lack of purpose, truancy, tardiness , boredom and physical fat igue. In summary, he states that the dropout sees his vocational future in a pessimist ic fashion and does not see school and education as a means to a vocational end. As a resul t of his f indings , Levens (1970) submits two proposit ions. The f i r s t i s that dropping out, student d i s sa t i s fac t i on and low commitment to education values are in large part responses to three, not necessari ly mutually exclusive factors; educational f a i l u r e , perceived irrelevancy of formal education and lack of involvement in the process of education. Secondly, the nature of the authority system and the teaching-learning structure in most schools pos i t ive ly contributes to educational f a i l u r e , perceived irrelevancy of formal education and student d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and lack of involvement in the educational process. The report elaborates that there are i d e n t i f i a b l e conditions and educational practices that contribute to this f a i l u r e ; the l a b e l l i n g process, teacher expectation, tes t ing , grouping and grading, and economic segregation. Patterns of Dropping Out A study which focuses on patterns of dropping out (Young and Reich, 1974) used an interview approach with dropouts and people s imi lar to dropouts, people who were d i s s a t i s f i e d with school, preferred to work, or had bad grades but remained, nevertheless. In this research, a dropout was defined by the student's desire to complete a certain grade l e v e l . The f indings include the c las s i c picture of the dropout as a chronic low achiever. Twenty-three percent f i t into the c la s s i c descr ipt ion; poor at t i tude, poor attendance, f a i l i n g subjects, among the oldest at their grade l e v e l , more males than females and less l i k e l y to be new Canadians. Five other patterns were i d e n t i f i e d ; 53% were work oriented, 6% were homemakers, 7% were family 16 supporters, 3% were i n t e l l e c t u a l e l i t e and 2% were c u l t u r a l i so la te s . In addit ion to these f ive patterns, 3% were i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d and 2% did not f i t any other category. The d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g factors between the stayins and the dropouts were; support of parents and plans for the future. Thir ty -n ine percent of dropouts had parents who act ive ly opposed their leaving school while 90% of stayins who considered dropping out had parents who strongly discouraged their leaving school ear ly . The stayins had clearer plans for the future than did the dropouts. A study by E l l i o t t and Voss (1974) concluded that few students l e f t school because of f inanc ia l pressure or i l l n e s s and that dropout amoung i n t e l l e c t u a l l y capable youth is not always voluntary. While troublesome behavior undoubtedly triggered the administrative response, a sizeable portion of the capable dropouts were forced to leave school. Their data does not support the contention that dropout i s prec ipi tated by problems in the home. Rather, the major ins t iga t ing forces in dropout are to be found in academic f a i l u r e and a l ienat ion from school. 17 Predictors of Dropout According to the results of E l l i o t t and Voss (1974), the strongest predictors of dropout are academic f a i l u r e , school normlessness, soc ia l i s o l a t i o n , exposure to dropout in the home and commitment to peers. Another study (Brantner and Enderl ien, 1972) considered 20 independent variables and s t a t i s t i c a l analysis i d e n t i f i e d one, absenteeism, as a unique s i gn i f i can t predictor of the tendency for vocational and non-vocational Grade 9 students to drop out of school. The information analyzed by Middleton (1978) did not provide the basis for determining whether a par t i cu lar student would drop out or graduate. However, the potent ial dropout, when compared to the graduate, would score lower on I.Q. tests , would be perceived by the f i r s t grade teacher as lacking in soc ia l s k i l l s and reading readiness s k i l l s , would become a poorer reader as he passed through school, would score better on non-verbal and math sections of tests than verbal and language sections and would exhibit a pattern of i rregu lar attendance. The Dropout's School Experience In 1983, a paper ent i t l ed "What Early School Leavers 18 Say About Their School Experience" was presented to the Canadian Guidance and counsel l ing Association by Professor W. Pawlovich. It summarizes research that used a structured interview method with early school leavers, the ir parents, teachers and age-mate s tayins . Findings related to leaving school early fol low. The majority of parents were employed in s k i l l e d and unski l led labour and had less than Grade 11 education. The early leavers had four or more s i b l i n g s , some of whom l e f t school ear ly . They had f a i l e d a grade and had attended four or more schools. Fif ty-seven percent reported getting along fine with teachers; 7-1? said they got along poorly with teachers. They reported problems with schoolwork and 88 .656 had skipped c lasses . Approximately 83% reported sat i s factory re lat ionships with peers. Nearly one-quarter, 21.6%, l e f t school for economic reasons. Pawlovich states that there was considerable agreement among early school leavers, the ir parents, and teachers about why they had l e f t school ear ly . D i s sa t i s fac t ion with school was the primary complaint. The only detectable difference between stayins and early leavers i s the stayins appeared more intent on 19 continuing their education and their parents were less tolerant of their wanting to leave than the parents of the early leavers . They also appeared to receive more support and assistance than early leavers from fr iends , parents and counsel lors . In a study conducted at an alternate school for dropouts and potent ial dropouts, 54% of the students responded to an open ended questionnaire which simply asked them to l i s t their needs (Larter and Gershman, 1979). They l i s t e d ; basic academic s k i l l s at own l eve l and pace, f r i endly and understanding teachers, a b i l i t y to f ind a good job, wide variety of courses with f l e x i b i l i t y of course scheduling, democratic and relaxing atmosphere, credits and diploma for further education, learning to learn s k i l l s , soc ia l s k i l l s , school s tructure, small classes and l i f e s k i l l s . The usefulness of this information is lessened by the low percentage of responses to the questionnaire, the general nature of the responses and the lack of systematic analysis of the data. After Dropout Dropouts experience higher unemployment rates and receive lower earnings than other workers (King, 1978). 20 In 1971 and 1972, 260 youths who v i s i t e d overnight youth hostels in Eastern Canada were interviewed (Loken, 1973). One half of those interviewed were found to be school dropouts. Drug use was l inked to time los t from school and to dropping out of school . It would be unwise to suggest that this i s more than a simple re la t ionsh ip . Drug use i s at most a symptom of underlying problems and at least a possible component of the l i f e s ty le of truants and dropouts. School Attendance Research in the area of school attendance, the precursor to school dropout, i s also of s igni f icance here. A project with 12 high r i sk students (McRae, 1974) in Vancouver, i s credited with reducing the average rate of absenteeism of 7th grade boys to 4.6 days a year. Another program (Cathera l l , 1978) designed to improve school attendance introduced a monthly attendance report by mail to parents. The following results were achieved; Average Daily Attendance Year Comment 90.26% 91.15% 94.00% 94.00% 1972- 73 1973- 74 1974- 75 1975- 76 Prior to treatment. Treatment i n s t i t u t e d . Treatment continued. Treatment continued. 21 In a study by Nielsen and Gerber (1979), where truancy was defined as absence from school unexcused by the student's parents, two modal types of truants were del ineated; the authority defying and the peer phobic. The prevalence among Junior High students for the school year 1974-75 was 6.7% truant at least one day, 2.7% truant 2 or more weeks, and 1.1% truant for 5 or more weeks. These figures are said to be comparable to current estimates of U.S. national truancy. Length of period, subject l eve l d i f f i c u l t y , and teacher expectation were found to be related to class absence (Toney, 1978). The longer the period, the more d i f f i c u l t the c lass , or the higher the teacher's expectations, the more class absences resul ted. John S. Wright ( N e i l l , 1979) found that attendance rates decreased as the s ize of the school increased. Results of a study and others reviewed in the l i t e r a t u r e (Adler, 1980) support the hypothesis that students attending competency based or a l ternat ive schools had better attendance than the t r a d i t i o n a l comprehensive high school . The a l ternat ive schools had small school environments, ind iv idua l i zed ins t ruc t ion , and a high degree of student involvement in the operation of the school. 22 F i n a l l y , in the area of school attendance, i t i s in teres t ing to note that in 1975 (Larter and Eason, 1978) the Board of Education for the City of Toronto adopted a unique solut ion to the attendance and dropout problems. They introduced a pol icy based on Ministry of Education regulations and guidelines for Early School Leaving, which permits; . . . certa in 14 and 15 year olds to be excused from regular attendance at school under special circumstances and provided that the pupils follow a program prescribed by a committee to be set up by each board. Because 32% of the 645 students who were registered in this program between 1976 and 1978 were born in Portugal, the impl icat ions of the research are l i m i t e d . The real item of interest i s the school board pol icy i t s e l f . Is allowing 14 year olds the opportunity to leave school ear ly , to seek employment or become involved in other out of school programs, r ea l l y in the best interest of the 14 year old or i s i t an abrogation of the re spons ib i l i t y entrusted in the' school board? E l l i o t t and Voss (1974) raise this issue of compulsory attendance in re la t ion to delinquency prone adolescents. They have data to show that delinquency i s causal ly 23 involved in dropout and dropout in turn leads to decreasing involvement in delinquency. This f inding supports their posi t ion that the school i s the c r i t i c a l generating mil ieu for the delinquency. One might come to the conclusion that perhaps delinquency prone adolescents should not be required to attend school . However, i f one looks at this from the point of view of school d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n leading to delinquency, surely the appropriate response would be to look at ways to increase success in school rather than remove the symptomatic group. Summary The following summary gives information on the extent to which research has answered the six questions that have dominated the l i t e r a t u r e on dropouts. 1. How many pupils drop out of school? This i s not d e f i n i t i v e l y answered in either Canadian or American s t a t i s t i c s . The usual method of ca lcu lat ing the dropout rate does not take into account summer dropouts or students who withdraw from one school, on the basis that they are transferr ing to another, but do not enrol elsewhere. 24 2. Who are the dropouts and what are they l ike? Aside from minor var ia t ions , the research agrees that there are general charac ter i s t i c s related to dropout. These are academic f a i l u r e , absenteeism, frequent tardiness , below grade l eve l in reading or math, retention in one or more grades, below potent ial performance, lack of par t i c ipa t ion in ex tra -curr i cu lar a c t i v i t i e s , frequent change of schools, behavior problems, fee l ing of not belonging, lower socio-economic l e v e l , more l i k e l y to be male than female, d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with school and lack of future plans. 3. Which pupils w i l l drop out? Students who are absent from school on a frequent basis w i l l drop out. S l i g h t l y less r e l i a b l e predictors are academic f a i l u r e , soc ia l i s o l a t i o n , school normlessness, exposure to dropout in the home and commitment to peers. 4. What are the reasons for dropping out? The results in this area are rather unsat is factory. The reason given for the dropout i s often predetermined by the question being asked or the person or i-nstitution asking the question. The reasons that are agreed on, d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with school, academic f a i l u r e , and school a l i enat ion , are too general to have p r a c t i c a l s ign i f i cance . Other research findings are contradictory. One study finds more than 20% of students leaving for f inanc ia l reasons, another says very few leave school today for that reason. 5. What happens to dropouts? The dropout i s generally lower paid and more frequently unemployed than the graduate. 6. What ways and means can be developed to reduce dropout rates? Early i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of potential dropouts and intervention programs are suggested. Expansion of educational a l ternat ives i s another. The d i f f i c u l t y i s that the programs claiming success are often not readi ly transferrable to another se t t ing . They are highly intensive , and therefore more expensive, l oca l solutions based on the unique features of the potent ial dropout population. The programs that have been ins t i tu ted have not succeeded in lowering the overa l l dropout rate . 25 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954), used in this study, i s an outgrowth of studies in the Aviat ion Psychology program of the United States Army Air Forces in World War II . One of the f i r s t studies carr ied out in th is program was the analysis of spec i f i c reasons for trainee f a i l u r e in learning to f l y . One thousand p i l o t candidates who were eliminated from f l i g h t t ra in ing schools reported the reasons for their f a i l u r e by r e c a l l of spec i f i c incidents c r i t i c a l to learning to f l y . The C r i t i c a l Incident Technique i s both an interview method and a procedure for the analysis of the data co l l ec ted . It consists of a set of procedures for c o l l e c t i n g d irect observations of human behavior in such a way as to f a c i l i t a t e their potent ial usefulness in solving p r a c t i c a l problems and developing broad psychological pr inc ip le s (Flanagan, 1954). The technique outl ines procedures for co l l ec t ing observed incidents having special 26 s igni f icance and meeting systematically defined c r i t e r i a . Following the co l l e c t i on of the data, there i s a set of procedures for analyzing and synthesizing the incidents . Flanagan (1954) defines an incident as any observable human a c t i v i t y that i s s u f f i c i e n t l y complete in i t s e l f to permit inferences and predict ions to be made about the person performing the act . To be c r i t i c a l , an incident must occur in a s i tuat ion where the purpose or intent of the act seems f a i r l y clear to the observer and where i t s consequences are s u f f i c i e n t l y def in i te to leave l i t t l e doubt concerning i t s e f fects . The data analysis stage follows the c o l l e c t i o n of c r i t i c a l inc idents . The purpose of this stage is to summarize and describe the data in an e f f i c i e n t manner so that i t can be e f fec t ive ly used for p r a c t i c a l purposes. The f i r s t step in the data analysis i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the c r i t i c a l inc idents . The process i s an inductive one. and includes se lect ing a general frame of reference based on the use that i s to be made of the data, sort ing a small number of the incidents into p i les re la t ive to the frame of reference, and l a b e l l i n g the p i les with descr ipt ive t i t l e s . After these tentative categories have been establ ished, 27 more incidents are c l a s s i f i e d into them and the categories are redefined or new categories are created i f so required. At this time one weighs the advantages of the s p e c i f i c i t y achieved in spec i f i c incidents against the s impl i c i ty of a small number of categories. The process of categorizat ion i s continued u n t i l a l l incidents have been c l a s s i f i e d . The categories are then labe l l ed with c lear , comprehensive t i t l e s . The t i t l e s should re f l ec t l o g i c a l organization, convey meaning in themselves and a l l be of the same l eve l of importance. The second step i s to make frequency counts of the incidents in each category and to interpret the f indings re la t ive to the ident i f i ed problem, or as Flanagan (1954) describes i t , to make inferences regarding p r a c t i c a l procedures for improving performance based on observed inc idents . Applicat ions for this technique include; measures of typ i ca l performance (Nagay, 1949), measures of proficiency (Gordon, 1950), t ra in ing (Col l ings , 1954), se lect ion and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n with regard to job requirements (Hahn, 1954), motivation and leadership assessment (Preston, 1953), a c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the concept of maturity ( E i l b e r t , 1953), and studies in counsel l ing and psychotherapy (Speth, 28 1952). Al len (1950) used the technique in an att i tudes study on what caused students to l i k e a fellow student either more or less than before. Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman (1959) used the technique as a basis for their two factor theory of worker motivation. More recently , David C. McLelland (1973) set up a consulting f irm, which uses an approach s imi lar to the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique, to assess competence. Flanagan (1978) developed categories for the concept, qual i ty of l i f e , and F. Old (1983) used the technique in her study on se l f d i sc losure . Andersson and Nilsson (1964) have tested the r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y of the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique. They studied the technique when i t was applied in analyzing the job of store manager in a Swedish Grocery company. About 1,800 incidents were co l l ec ted , mainly by interviews but also by questionnaires. The procedure for c o l l e c t i n g the data i s a r e l i a b l e one. The structure of the material was not influenced by the methods of c o l l e c t i n g or by the interviewers. Andersson and Nilsson (1964) used the "Kruskal-Wallace one way analysis of variance by ranks" and found that there were no great differences in the number of incidents co l lected by di f ferent interviewers. 29 In regard to the saturation and comprehensiveness, Andersson and Nilsson (1964) state that the material co l lected seems to represent very well the behavior units that the method may be expected to provide. After a r e l a t i v e l y small number of incidents had been c l a s s i f i e d , very few new behavior categories needed to be added. V a l i d i t y of the technique was demonstrated by comparing the t ra in ing l i t e r a t u r e used with the store managers to the tra in ing aspects reported by the subjects. The incidents reported by the subjects covered a l l aspects of the job as described in the t ra in ing manuals. Also, in judging whether or not the reported aspects of the job were of greatest importance in the job of store manager, the average r e l i a b i l i t y co -e f f i c i en t calculated was .83 when 86 subcategories were rated on a s ix-point scale by independent judges. The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system was found to have high s t a b i l i t y . When students t r i ed to re-categorize the inc idents , they showed a strong tendency to place the incident in the same category before deciding on a d i f ferent category. In conclusion, Andersson and Nilsson (1964) state; 30 According to the results of the studies here on the r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y aspects of the c r i t i c a l incident technique, i t would appear j u s t i f i a b l e to conclude that information col lected by this method is both r e l i a b l e and v a l i d . P i l o t Study The p i l o t study had two main object ives . The f i r s t of these was to determine whether or not subjects were able, some after nearly two years out of regular school, to r e c a l l events that were c r u c i a l to their staying in or leaving school . The second was to test the interview structure that had been developed, based on Flanagan's (1954) descr ipt ion of the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique. Two boys, from the Re-Entry program from which the population for this study was obtained, who had returned to the regular school system, were interviewed. The subjects were asked to think back to a time in regular school when they f e l t l i k e qu i t t ing or dropping out, and la ter to r e c a l l events that were supportive of their continued attendance at school. The subjects had l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y r e c a l l i n g and re la t ing s ign i f i cant events and deta i l s from their e a r l i e r school experiences. However, i t was discovered l a t e r , when 31 l i s t e n i n g to the taped interviews that some of the reco l l ec t ions did not qual i fy as c r i t i c a l incidents because the s igni f icance of the incident was not se l f -ev ident . The subject had not volunteered what i t was about a par t i cu lar incident that made him feel l i k e dropping out or staying in school and the student invest igator had f a i l e d to use further questioning to obtain the information. One could not deduce, from the events themselves, how the subject f e l t , or what meaning the person attached to the inc ident . The p i l o t study demonstrated the wil l ingness and a b i l i t y of subjects to r e c a l l and relate past school experiences. It revealed the importance of follow-up probes in e l i c i t i n g a series of c r i t i c a l inc idents . Interview Structure The outl ine below approximates the way in which the student invest igator conducted the interviews. Procedures. Before we begin, I w i l l explain to you the procedures I am required to fol low. I am taping the interview so that I can l i s t e n to the interview again and write down the main ideas from i t . No one else w i l l l i s t e n to the tape and I w i l l erase i t after I write my report . I want to assure you that you w i l l not be personally ident i f i ed in the research report . 32 You are not required to part ic ipate in this research. Whether or not you part ic ipate w i l l not affect your standing at this school. If you decide, at any time, that you do not wish to be interviewed, please t e l l me and I w i l l stop the interview. Do you have any questions you would l i k e to ask me before we begin? Introduction. I am doing a study to f ind out what i t i s about school that makes some people feel l i k e qu i t t ing or dropping out of regular school and what i t i s that makes people fee l l i k e staying i n . I believe you are espec ia l ly able to t e l l me about this because you aren't in a regular school anymore. I 'd l i k e to know what made you feel l i k e qu i t t ing school and what happened that kept you in school or made you want to keep going. Negative Incidents. We' l l s tart with the things that happened that made you feel l i k e q u i t t i n g . Think back to a spec i f i c time when you f e l t l i k e qu i t t ing or dropping out of school. What did you do or what happened to you? It may be something that happened at home, at school, on the playground, at a f r i end ' s place, or anywhere else outside school . Take some time to remember a par t i cu lar inc ident . When you have the event c l ear ly in mind, t e l l me about i t . . . Follow-up Questions. What led up to this incident? What happened as a resul t of i t ? What were you fee l ing at the time? What did th is incident mean to you? Why did this incident make you feel l i k e dropping out? Think of another time . . . etc. Posi t ive Incidents. Now I'd l i k e you to think of some of the experiences you had in regular school that were very sa t i s fy ing to you and made you feel l i k e staying in school. Again, i t may have happened in school, at home, on your way to school or anywhere at a l l . Think of a par t i cu lar time and take a minute to rea l ly picture what i s happening . . . Follow-up questions p a r a l l e l those used for the negative inc idents . 33 Population When using the C r i t i c a l Incident Technique, i t i s not necessary to specify a sample exactly as one would for normative test ing for two reasons. F i r s t l y , i t takes only one incident to form a category. That more incidents of a certa in nature might be provided by a certa in type of subject i s r e l a t i v e l y unimportant since the number of incidents i s not a c r i t e r i o n for categorizat ion. Secondly, Fol ley (1953) found that categories and subcategories decrease rapidly toward the end. The f i r s t three or four hundred incidents allow a reasonably complete categorical framework. Incidents col lected beyond this number tend to be placed within exis t ing categories rather than requiring new categories . Volunteers were obtained from a Re-Entry program for Junior Secondary students. The students had a l l been referred to the program after they had experienced considerable d i f f i c u l t y within the school system or after a prolonged period of school re fusa l . The research question and the purpose of the project were presented to each classroom within the Re-Entry 34 program. Students were asked to volunteer at that time or to approach the student invest igator or their teacher at a la ter date i f they wished to par t i c ipa te . Students were also approached i n d i v i d u a l l y , either by their teacher or the student invest igator , and asked to volunteer. Volunteers were given consent forms (see Appendix D). The consent form was read and explained in order to make clear that par t i c ipa t ion was voluntary, p a r t i c i p a t i o n or non-part ic ipat ion would not affect their standing in the school, interviews would be taped, the subjects would not be personally associated with the data, and parent's or guardian's permission was required (see Appendix E ) . Subject response to p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the research was very enthusiast ic . Introduction of the proposal was met with comments l i k e "right on . . " , and "oh, boy, do you have a year to l i s t e n . . . " and "could I t e l l you a l o t . . . . " . The interviews averaged one hour and f i f teen minutes. The subjects were fluent and eager to t e l l their story. Once the incident was presented and the interviewer confirmed that the subject was responding according to the structure of the interview method, a stream of reco l l ec t ions followed. At the end of the interview, subjects were often surprised by how one reco l l ec t ion had 35 triggered another and another. Emotions ran high occasional ly and subjects expressed appreciation at being given the opportunity to ta lk , although many of them were confused about how the ir story could be of any value to the interviewer. Of the 30 students in the Re-Entry program, 22, 11 g i r l s and 11 boys, were interviewed. Two students declined p a r t i c i p a t i o n and the other six were not interviewed due to time constraints , absenteeism, or incarcerat ion in a Youth Detention Center. A l l interviews were conducted by the student inves t igator . Organization of the Data C r i t i c a l incidents from the taped interviews were summarized on 3X5 index cards with 1 incident per card. An incident was judged to be c r i t i c a l i f the subject could r e c a l l de ta i l s of the experience and remember what i t was about that incident that caused her to feel l i k e staying in or dropping out of school. The incidents were put into groups based on reasons given for wanting to stay in or drop out of school. When a l l incidents were c l a s s i f i e d , each group was given a t i t l e that included a l l incidents in that category. 36 CHAPTER IV RESULTS Statement of Results A to ta l of 506 c r i t i c a l incidents yielded 506 factors . Of these, 350 factors related to dropping out of school; 156 factors related to staying in school. Twenty-two subjects were interviewed; the average number of factors for each subject was 23. There were no s ign i f i cant differences between the data co l lected from the males and that from the female subjects. Both boys and g i r l s related incidents in a l l categories. Subject responses were on three l eve l s ; the structure of the school system, the ir re lat ionships with other students and school personnel and the meaning of school in their l i v e s . The incidents re la t ing to staying in (posi t ive) and to dropping out (negative) were treated separately. Incidents were put into p i les based on the reason given for wanting to stay in or drop out of school. In effect , the events 37 were grouped, not on the basis of what actual ly happened but according to the meaning the subject attached to the event. The i n i t i a l categories decided on were the school, teachers, students, and the family. As more incidents were put into p i l e s i t became necessary to further subdivide these areas in order to make the categories more spec i f i c and the information more useful . This process of analysis of the reasons for staying in school resulted, f i n a l l y , in the following categories; 1. School Structure 2. School Authority 3. Schoolwork 4. Teachers 5. Students 6. Personal A c t i v i t i e s or Influence of Peers 7. Family Influences After c l a s s i f y i n g the negative incidents , i t became apparent that both groups of incidents f i t into the same categories, one having a posi t ive valence, staying i n , and the other a negative valence, dropping out. Each of the categories included c r i t i c a l incidents that, in the subject's opinion, f a c i l i t a t e d their continued attendance at school and hindered the ir staying in school. Neither group of inc idents , posi t ive or negative, required an extra category. 38 Below is a descr ipt ion of each category with examples of factors f a c i l i t a t i n g and hindering school attendance. Category 1. School Structure Def in i t ion - the structure of the school including the s ize of the school, the design of the physical plant, organization of the classes , school ideology and the resultant rules and routines. F a c i l i t a t i n g - Examples include having a l l subjects with the same c lass , and having the school structure explained to an ind iv idua l by the p r i n c i p a l . Hindering - Feel ing scared to go to a new school, having to face several d i f ferent classes, getting a timetable card a l l mixed up and not knowing where to go for the next c lass , not being allowed to smoke, not having structured a c t i v i t i e s at lunchtime, and being discouraged from ta lk ing to a teacher after school hours about a par t i cu lar p o l i t i c a l ideology. Category 2. School Authority Def in i t ion - This category comprises the various aspects of the student's re la t ionship to school authority . It includes recognition in the form of school awards and the school d i s c i p l i n e meted out for behavior transgressions. The re lat ionship here i s between the ind iv idua l and the p r i n c i p a l , v i c e - p r i n c i p a l or teachers as a group. Category 3 refers to the student's re lat ionship with ind iv idua l teachers. F a c i l i t a t i n g - Getting a patrol c e r t i f i c a t e for helping kids cross the s treet , being given a second chance when caught smoking, having specia l pr iv i l eges or fun a c t i v i t i e s organized in school time. Hindering - Feel ing watched by the teachers and administrators, being angered by the l ines and detentions handed out for misbehavior, having pr iv i l eges taken away, being put down by the administrator ("you have no hope of making i t here"), and skipping out of school to avoid the 39 consequences of being late to school or having been truant from school . Category 3. Schoolwork Def in i t ion - This category relates to the subject's perception of and att i tude toward schoolwork, independent of personal re la t ionsh ips . It includes l i k i n g a par t i cu lar subject or c lass , doing well on an assignment, i n a b i l i t y to do the work, i n s u f f i c i e n t help with the work, teacher expectations, lack of progress or anticipated f a i l u r e . F a c i l i t a t i n g - Enjoying cooking, being in a French Immersion c lass , studying the evolution of people, learning to read and write , having Physical Education outside, making a table in Woodwork, getting a perfect mark on a map, and pair ing up with another student to work on a Science unit on skeletons. Hindering - Having to take gym, fee l ing dumb in c lass , having to correct mistakes in work, being in a -class where the work was too hard, having to take Science or Sewing or French, and wanting help but the teacher being too busy with other students to help. Category 4. Teachers Def in i t ion - The re lat ionship between the student and the teacher, including l i k i n g or d i s l i k i n g a teacher and the teacher's expressed praise or d i s c i p l i n e regarding the subject's behavior. F a c i l i t a t i n g - Teacher pat ient ly showing the subject how to do Math, teacher being l i k e a dad or grandfather, teacher treat ing the subject in a decent manner even though the subject was f a i l i n g the c lass , being l i s tened to, being "in love" with the teacher, and "l ipping off" the teacher to get revenge. Hindering - Feel ing singled out or picked on by a teacher, being ye l led at, being punished for breaking something when i t was an accident, having a teacher who used a whistle on the class as one would with animals, being questioned by a teacher and being scared of a teacher. 40 Category 5. Students Def in i t ion - Category 5 refers s p e c i f i c a l l y to the re lat ionship with other students. It includes play or fr iendship or lack thereof, and the d i f f i c u l t i e s such as fee l ing d i f ferent from others or not belonging. F a c i l i t a t i n g - Playing tackle f o o t b a l l , playing with a boy who was in a wheelchair, chasing the boys, writ ing notes in c lass , making new fr iends , kids buying the subject a new yo-yo when his got broken, having a boyfriend and kids s t i ck ing up for the subject during a f i gh t . Hindering - Not agreeing with kids , fee l ing embarrassed in front of kids who had witnessed a dressing down by a teacher or parent, being scared to go to the gym because i t would be an opportunity for kids to get at or beat up the subject, being teased for being overweight, being the new kid in school, and getting into f ights with k ids . Category 6. Personal A c t i v i t i e s or Influence of Peers Def in i t ion - In general, th is category refers to the perceived meaning of school, e i ther in re la t ion to an i n d i v i d u a l ' s interests or those of the peer group. It includes personal in teres t s , sa t i s fac t ions , or goals, and a c t i v i t i e s within or without the school and the meaning derived from those a c t i v i t i e s . F a c i l i t a t i n g - Being recognized as a leader, f i e l d t r i p s , coming second in a school track and f i e l d meet, having a noon-hour concert and being in a school play. Hindering - Becoming a part of a tough gang that hung around the store and skipped school, and prefering camping to s i t t i n g in a classroom. Category 7. Family Influences Def in i t ion - This includes the att i tude of family members to school , ' the value placed on education, the help given with schoolwork and the extent to which school l i f e was compatible with family l i f e . F a c i l i t a t i n g - Mom helped f i n i s h sewing a blouse and parents said school was important. 41 Hindering - Arguments with mom kept subject from concentrating on schoolwork, mom wouldn't talk to subject about problems subject was having at school, parents questioning about problems at school and being placed in a foster home. R e l i a b i l i t y of Categories The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system developed was tested for r e l i a b i l i t y by 4 independent judges; two of the judges were people not d i r e c t l y involved in the education system and two were school teachers with t ra in ing in Counselling Psychology. The judges were trained in the category system to be used. They were asked to categorize a randomly selected set of inc idents . The percentage of hi ts or accurate placements provided the measure of r e l i a b i l i t y . For the categories to be considered r e l i a b l e , a minumum of 80% agreement, between the judge and the student invest igator , was set. Each of the 506 incidents was tested by one of the judges. The following results were obtained. Judge Number and Type of Incident Agreement #1 78 posi t ive 89.74% 70 negative 80.00% #2 78 pos i t ive 83.33% 70 negative 82.85% #3 105 negative 83.81% #4 105 negative 86.67% 42 Frequency of Factors This information is provided in Tables I, II , III , IV and V. A more detai led descr ipt ion of the factors , their frequencies, subcategories and superordinate categories is provided in Appendix H and Appendix I. 43 Table I Factors Contributing to Continuing Attendance at School Category Number of Incidents % of Total 1 3 2% 2 17 11% 3 30 19% 4 33 21% 5 34 22% 6 36 23% 7 3 2% 156 100% Table II Factors Contributing to Dropping Out of School Category Number of Incidents % of Total 1 39 11% 2 50 15% 3 79 23% 4 46 13% 5 84 24% 6 26 7% 7 26 7% 350 100% 44 Table III Frequency of Factors Relating to Continued Attendance at School. 30-28-26-24-22- I I 20-18-t 16-Total of • Factors 14- v 12-10- j | 8-6-4-2-Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. School Structure 2. School Authority 3. Schoolwork 4. Teachers 5. Students 6. Personal A c t i v i t i e s or Influence of Peers 7. Family Influences Table IV 1. School Structure 2. School Authority 3. Schoolwork 4. Teachers 5. Students 6. Personal A c t i v i t i e s or Influence of Peers 7. Family Influences 46 Table V Frequency of Factors Relating to Continuous Attendance at School Compared to Frequency of Factors Relating to Dropping out of School. continuous attendance % of Total Factors dropping out Category 1. School Structure 2. School Authority 3. Schoolwork 4. Teachers 5. Students 6. Personal A c t i v i t i e s or Influence of Peers 7. Family Influences 47 Discussion of Results The following discussion of the results i s based on the category system developed and on the incidents themselves. Of the 506 incidents , 350 related to dropping out of school, and 156, nearly half as many, related to staying in school . Because the subjects had experienced so much d i f f i c u l t y and f a i l u r e in regular school, i t would have been reasonable to assume that they would have had less to report on the posi t ive s ide. However, the subjects could think of many reasons to stay in school, even though the pos i t ive incidents were not nearly as detai led as the negative ones. For example; a negative Category 5 incident would include deta i l s leading up to a f ight with another student, a descr ipt ion of the f ight , the aftermath and the consequences, while a posi t ive Category 5 incident would be the simple statement of going to school to see friends with only a l i t t l e de ta i l of what happened. An outstanding feature of this research is the high proportion of incidents involving re lat ionships with other students. Twenty-two percent of the incidents contributing to students staying in school and 24% of the incidents leading to their dropping out of school relate to how well 48 an ind iv idua l got along with the other students. This does not include the category of peer group influence (Category 6) that the l i t e r a t u r e regarding dropouts often alludes to. It simply refers to other students in the school and c l ear ly shows that for kids, the single most important thing about school i s other kids . In fact , the peer group influence regarding dropout i s as much a f a c i l i t a t i n g factor for staying in school, as i t i s a negative influence to drop out. Seventeen responses indicated that a subject wanted to stay in school because of the attention or recognition from students as a group. There were 15 incidents of students wanting to quit because the ir friends wanted to or had already dropped out of school. The second largest category of factors is the schoolwork i t s e l f . It accounts for 19% of the factors contribut ing to continued attendance at school and 23% of those contribut ing to dropping out of school. These results are in agreement with the l i t e r a t u r e which points to academic f a i l u r e (Young and Reich, 1974) as one of the prime reasons for students wanting to leave school. However, because this research is done from the point of view of the consumer, the emphasis i s d i f f erent . Where 49 Young and Reich stress poor at t i tude , poor attendance and being among the oldest at their grade l e v e l , th is study stresses i n a b i l i t y to do the work, i n s u f f i c i e n t help with the work, lack of progress and antic ipated f a i l u r e . Twenty-six percent of factors re la t ing to school dropout were related to the student's acceptance of d i s c i p l i n e ; 11% of this involved the d i s c i p l i n e from an ind iv idua l teacher, and 15% originated with the school administrators. This f inding supports the work of Neilsen and Gerber (1979) on the authority defying truant . It also relates to D a i l l y ' s (1974) plea for change in the public school system. "The student i s often on the receiving end of a series of decisions that are made for him by people in the system who have no d irect knowledge of his actual circumstances. Decisions with respect to curriculum, programme, and general po l i c i e s of the school are decided in i s o l a t i o n of ind iv idua l needs of students. Parents, in general are not involved with these decisions " "The student has no means of resolving any c o n f l i c t with the system; he must conform, leave vo luntar i ly or be suspended." In view of the l a t t e r statement, i t i s in teres t ing to note that 17 incidents or 11% of the to ta l re la t ing to continued attendance at school focused on the school administrat ion. Seven of the 17 involved recognition in the form of school awards, 5 c i ted help from school personnel other than 50 teachers, and 5 described sa t i s fac t ion gained from c o n f l i c t with the school administrators. It i s not encouraging that as many subjects continued to attend regular school because of the ir power struggle with the administrat ion, as because of help received from administrators. Twenty-one percent of the incidents contributing to staying in school featured a re lat ionship with a teacher. Of a to ta l of 33 incidents , 28 showed a pos i t ive re la t ionship and 5 were motivated by the subject wanting to get the better of a teacher. This research did not attempt to d i f f erent ia te between the dropouts and the pushouts, but i t was noted during the interview that many students did not want to leave school. When asked what i t was about regular school that made them fee l l i k e dropping out, several repl ied that they d idn' t want to drop out so the question was rephrased to "what happened that led to your leaving?" One student expressed a strong desire to remain in regular school even though he admitted that he had only been attending one of his eight classes on a regular basis . He said that the kids d idn' t l i k e him and picked on him. He quickly became a victim in Junior Secondary School and because he was unable to cope he was referred to the Re-Entry program. An unexpected resul t of this research is the lack of influence of the family regarding staying in or dropping out of school . Other research often looks to socio-economic l eve l (Chi lders , 1965), education of parent (Pawlovich, 1983), or att i tude of parent to student's dropping out (Young and Reich, 1974) as an important fac tor . While family influences, regarding staying in or dropping out of school may be very strong, these subjects did not see i t that way. Only 7% of the factors re la t ing to dropping out of school concerned the family . Of these 26 inc idents , 19 were in regard to home in ter f er ing with continued attendance at school and 7 were de ta i l s of problems at school causing the ind iv idua l d i f f i c u l t y at home. Having worked as a counsellor in the regular school system, the student invest igator was disappointed to f ind that only 3 of 506 incidents reported by the subjects involved school counsel lors . Two of these related to the subject 's perceived reason for dropping out and 1 for maintaining an ind iv idua l in school. The negative incidents were; a) a counsellor was seen to be meddling in the student's personal l i f e . 52 b) the student was confused about the counsel lor 's role and when asked to speak to the counsellor pr iva te ly , he feared for his personal and sexual safety. The posi t ive incident was; a) a counsellor gave a student, who described herself as having a quick temper, an "emergency visa" - written permission to show the teacher she could leave the class when she f e l t she was about to explode in anger. That Junior Secondary schools are too large i s not born out in a d irect way in the research resu l t s . Only 7 of the subjects' responses d i r e c t l y stated that the school was too large . However, many of the factors re late to school s ize ; d i f f i c u l t y getting along with other students, i n s u f f i c i e n t help with the work and.lack of i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n due to the number of students taught by a teacher. Also, in ex tra -curr i cu lar a c t i v i t i e s where a student might f ind some success outside the classroom, the competition is very keen due to the large number of students. Summary of Results The two factors contributing most to dropout are d i f f i c u l t y re la t ing to other students, and problems with schoolwork. Problems in these two areas lead to d i s c i p l i n e from a teacher or an administrator. The subject's response to these c o n f l i c t s i tuat ions i s avoidance, non-attendance 53 or confrontat ion. The resul t of the truancy or confrontation i s dropping out or suspension from school . Changes in the structure of the school are required to reduce the number of problems students have with other students. This w i l l in turn reduce the number of c o n f l i c t s i tuat ions with teachers and administrators . Family influence and that of peers who are dropouts are not seen to be strongly related to school dropout. 54 CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS Interpretat ion of Results Junior Secondary school aged students stop attending school on a regular basis because of the d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered in re la t ing to other students and successful ly completing the assigned schoolwork. They may well be students from a lower socio-economic l e v e l , come from a one parent family, have an unhappy family s i tua t ion , experience s i b l i n g competition, or have parents who do not value education. They may have physical differences from peers, be antagonistic toward teachers, have emotional disturbances or not part ic ipate in ex tra -curr i cu lar a c t i v i t i e s . More of them may have cars than their stayin counterparts; more of them may be parents. However, according to the subjects in this study, they do not drop out of school because of the above factors; they drop out because they have problems with the schoolwork and problems re la t ing to other students. The issue of g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of the data, from the 55 Meets in th is study to students in regular school, was raised in Chapter I . Do we have a group here that i s so far from the norm that to suggest that others might experience school in s imi lar ways would be a grave error? The results of the research suggest not. It i s highly l i k e l y that students who remain in regular school have problems re la t ing to other students and have some d i f f i c u l t y with the schoolwork. Therefore, the difference in the experience of the student in the Re-entry program and the one in regular school i s more l i k e l y a difference of degree rather than kind. It would seem that the stayins require less ind iv idua l attention from teachers and are better able to get along with a large number and variety of students. Their posi t ive experiences outnumber their negative ones and they stay in school. Also, because they are happier within the system, than the dropout, they rarely confront the authority structure and are not suspended or withdrawn from school . In view of t h i s , the solut ion to the potent ial dropout of students adopted by the City of Toronto School Board (Larter and Eason, 1978), of allowing 14 year olds to leave school ear ly , would seem to be an abrogation of the re spons ib i l i t y of educating a l l young people rather than a creative approach to meeting the needs of the target group. 5 6 Part of the rat ionale for the Larter and Eason (1978) study was to measure whether or not the Leaving School Early program solved the problems that students were having and indeed in the short term i t may. However, what i s the cost of the lack of education over a l i f e t ime to those indiv iduals? And i f in fact there are many more l i k e them, a lbe i t not quite so badly off , in regular school, the Leaving School Early program removes the symptom, but does not solve the problem. Educational a l ternat ives and support services have increased in B r i t i s h Columbia. The Ministry of Education has made an ef fort to provide an education for a l l ch i ldren . Yet, chi ldren continue to drop out at the same rate . This fact gives credence to the argument that the answer to the dropout problem l i e s , not in creating new programs for students who obviously do not f i t the present system, but in making changes in the present system. On a f inanc ia l basis alone, school boards cannot continue to introduce programs which require resources beyond the normal a l loca t ion of a classroom uni t . On a theoret ica l basis , the students who drop out of school are not the problem, but the symptom of problems within the school s tructure . 57 Theoret ical Signif icance Subjects responded on the l eve l of the structure of the school system, the ir re lat ionships with other students and school personnel, and the meaning of school in their l i v e s . A posi t ive experience in re la t ion to the structure of the school, a re lat ionship with another person, or meaning derived from an incident in either of these categories was a contributing factor to staying in school. A negative experience on one of these three leve ls was a reason for dropping out. Tof f ler (1980) presents th is idea in The Third Wave; To create a f u l f i l l i n g emotional l i f e and a sane psychosphere for the emerging c i v i l i z a t i o n of tomorrow, we must recognize three basic requirements of any i n d i v i d u a l : the needs for community, s tructure , and meaning. He defines community as that necessary sense of belonging, the sa t i s fy ing bonds between indiv iduals which also requires loya l ty t ies between indiv iduals and the ir organizations. The students who drop out of school have neither enough sat i s factory re lat ionships with the ir peers nor supportive re lat ionships with their organizers - the teachers, counsel lors , administrators and other school personnel. They drop out because school does not sat i s fy the ir need for a sense of community. 58 Structure, Toff ler elaborates, provides the r e l a t i v e l y f ixed points of reference we need. That i s why, for many people, a job i s c r u c i a l psychological ly over and above the paycheck. For young people, the school potent ia l ly provides that s tructure . The dropout either rejects or i s rejected by the school s tructure . F i n a l l y , meaning, the fee l ing that our l i v e s "count" comes from healthy re lat ionships with the surrounding society . What Tof f l er describes was expressed in the beam on a young woman's face as she related the following experience; I was a leader; I was always getting some fad going. One day my fr iend and I took our r o l l e r skates to school . The next day others brought the ir skates. That was great fun. For an 11 year o ld , that i s meaning, being able to see oneself as a part of a larger whole and understand ones contribution and how i t f i t s into the larger scheme of things in society . When a student drops out, not only does i t mean that school no longer has meaning for that ind iv idua l but that unless that person f u l f i l l s her need for community and structure outside the school system, that i n d i v i d u a l ' s l i f e no longer has meaning. 59 P r a c t i c a l Signif icance and Recommendations for the  Implementation of Findings The s ize of the school accounts, to a large extent, for the d i f f i c u l t i e s students have in re la t ing to other students. One of the subjects commented; In Elementary school, i t was okay. When I got to High School . . . wel l , there are so many kids , there i s always someone you don't get along with. 0 and another sa id; There are too many kids in school. The teachers can't cope with this so what they do i s have the ir favorites and the ir kids they pick on. Recommendation #1. Reduce the s ize of Junior Secondary Schools. Students reported fee l ing out of place with the ir peer group. Instances of this were Grade 7's whose friends were in High School, and Grade 8's who f e l t pressured by the Junior Secondary School to f ind a c l ique or soc ia l gang to belong to. One g i r l sa id; I was r e a l l y scared I wouldn't make friends in Junior High. When I got there I saw a gang hanging around the store and I decided I wanted to be one of them. I ended up skipping out with them and when they dropped out I was too scared to be in school without their protect ion. A solut ion to both the school size and age segregation problems would be to keep small schools, that are presently being closed due to decl in ing enrolment and reduced funding 60 for education, open to a larger age range of students. As well as providing older role models for pubescent 12 to 16 year olds, a Kindergarten to Grade 12 or a Kindergarten to Grade 8 and Grade 9 to Grade 12 d i v i s i o n would provide more opportunity for students to f ind a group to ident i fy with and a sense of community over a longer period of time. The costs of heating, maintaining and administering these buildings might well be offset by reduced vandalism and the long term soc ia l benefits of the decrease in the dropout rate . Recommendation #2. Open schools to a wider age range of students. The present structure of the Junior Secondary school i s too dramatic a change from the Elementary school . The Secondary school puts an ind iv idua l in classroom contact with 9 teachers compared to 2 or 3 in Elementary school, and 270 or more students, compared to 30 in Elementary. In the interviews there were many references to getting los t in Junior Secondary School, not l i k i n g to change c lasses , fee l ing uncomfortable with so many strangers, and harrassment by other students while changing classes or during lunchtime. In a school with 800 students, where a 4 minute period 61 of time i s al located for moving from one classroom to another, the resul t i s a 4 minute period of time when 800 young adolescents are bas ica l ly unsupervised. Teachers at this time are engaged in conversations with students leaving or coming into c lass ; some lucky teachers may even manage a washroom break before the next 30+ students p i l e i n . In the meantime, the crowding in the ha l l s i s moving some students to minor acts of violence l i k e knocking someone's books f l y i n g or shoving a kid into a locker . One student at the Re-Entry program had a br i e f time in a Middle School, where nearly a l l subjects were taken with the same group of students. Where truancy and f a i l u r e had been evident in a previous Junior Secondary School, she maintained regular attendance and achieved greater academic success. A family move resulted in her enrolment in another Junior Secondary School, continued truancy, and the eventual r e f e r r a l to the Re-Entry program. Recommendation #3. Bring the structure of the Elementary and Secondary school closer together. Present funding for education i s on a pupil-teacher ra t io of approximately 17 to 1. This does not mean that there are 17 students in each classroom. In a Junior Secondary School, there are 30+ students in every classroom 62 except for Home Economics and Industr ia l Education where physical safety i s a factor and 24 students i s the guidel ine . Special education classes , administrators, counsel lors , learning assistance teachers, ass i s t ing teachers and other school personnel who are not assigned to the classroom, bring the ra t io to 17 to 1. Twenty-one percent of the factors contribut ing to continued attendance at school involved a re la t ionship with a teacher. Very few incidents reported related to help from other school personnel. Students want time, at tent ion, and caring from the person they are in d irec t contact with in the classroom. Absenteeism and acting-out behavior begin when the student does not receive that at tent ion. A common strategy to prevent dropout i s to ident i fy students with f a i l i n g grades and provide counsel l ing, specia l class placement, or other support. In a study where 3 educational strategies were used in an attempt to prevent students from dropping out (Titone, 1979), chi square analysis of comparative data indicated that even though both groups had reduced the ir number of f a i l i n g grades, there was no s ign i f i cant difference between the control and the experimental group. There were 3 treatment stages; the f i r s t phase was counsel l ing, the second was 63 special c lass placement and the th ird was spec ia l ly staffed classes combining counsel l ing and help in subject area de f i c i enc ie s . If the ind iv idua l did not improve his grades after phase 1, he moved into phase 2 and f i n a l l y phase 3 i f his grades had s t i l l not improved. This study and other research suggests that a better solut ion would be to provide more ind iv idua l help or more ind iv idua l i zed programming to students to prevent the f a i l u r e than to provide service after the f a i l u r e . Recommendation #4. Reduce class s i ze . It i s c lear from the number of incidents re la t ing to d i f f i c u l t y with schoolwork that there i s a need for more i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n of ins truct ion and more ind iv idua l help at the Secondary School l e v e l . The Elementary School teacher has approximately 30 students for a l l academic subjects. The Secondary School teacher has about 240 students. What this means for the student i s a dramatic decrease in the i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n of ins truct ion and help with the schoolwork. If class size were reduced the classroom teacher would be able to help more students. Recommendation #5. Provide the student with schoolwork that i s at her a b i l i t y l e v e l . 64 Attendance problems grow very qu ick ly . Subjects reported skipping classes because they were unable to do the work or because they were having d i f f i c u l t i e s with other students and then staying home from school to avoid the consequences of having skipped out. They saw the consequences - detentions, lectures from the administrators or teachers, assignment to picking up garbage on the school grounds as unpleasant punishment that only added to the ir o r i g i n a l problem. A study of the effects of two intervention strategies on the attendance, achievement and att i tudes of chronic absentees in a selected High School showed no s ign i f i cant differences in improvement by the 2 treatment groups over the control group. The treatments were; two home v i s i t s during the semester or 3 or 4 counsel l ing sessions in a semester (Bush, 1980). Presumably more counsel l ing would have been required to make a s ign i f i cant change in the student's behavior. However, the problem is the counsel l ing treats the symptom, absenteeism, in an ef fort to improve achievement. One of the reasons students stop attending i s because they have d i f f i c u l t y with the schoolwork and require more ind iv idua l attention than i s 65 given to them. Counselling them to attend and improve the ir at t i tude , without providing the required help with the schoolwork, i s doomed to f a i l u r e . Recommendation #6. Adopt a problem solving approach rather than a punitive one in dealing with attendance problems. Some of the subjects questioned the v a l i d i t y of having to take a par t i cu lar subject or study a par t i cu lar topic . They thought that some of the schoolwork was i rre levant to the ir l i v e s . Tof f l er (1980) suggests that in education we need to pay more attention to matters that are routinely ignored. These include the structure of everyday l i f e , the way time i s a l located , personal uses of money, and the places to go for help in a society exploding with complexity. Recommendation //7. Introduce changes in the curriculum. A few subjects reported continuing to attend school because of the sa t i s fac t ion gained from par t i c ipa t ion in e x t r a - c u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s . L i terature regarding dropouts often refers to dropout being related to lack of par t i c ipa t ion in e x t r a - c u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s . However, par t i c ipa t ion i s often not simply a matter of wanting to 66 p a r t i c i p a t e . Gaining a place on a school team i s usually the resul t of a highly se lect ive process. Many sports programs focus on coaching a chosen few to stardom to the exclusion of the majority. Recommendation #8. Implement an e x t r a - c u r r i c u l a r program that includes more students. Recommendations for Addit ional Research 1. 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Mimeo. King, R.H. The Labor Market: Consequences of Dropping  Out of High School. Columbus, Ohio: Center for Human Resource Research, The Ohio State Univers i ty . Larter , S. and Eason, G. The 'Leaving School Ear ly ' Students: Character i s t ics and Opinions. Toronto, Ontario: The Board of Education for the City of Toronto Research Department, Report #154, 1978. Lar ter , S. and Gershman, J . Contact: An Alternate School,  How i t Meets the Needs of Dropout Students. Toronto, Ontario: Research Department, Board of Education for the City of Toronto, 1979. Levens, B.R. The School and the Dropout: Toward an Understanding of the Impact of the School on Early  Leaving and Student D i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . Vancouver, B . C . : United Community Services of the Greater Vancouver Area, Social Policy and Research Department, 1970. Loken, J . O . Student Al ienat ion and Dissent. Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice Hal l of Canada L t d . , 1973. McClelland, D.C. Testing for competence rather than for i n t e l l i g e n c e . American Psychologist , 1973 V o l . 28, 1-14. McRae, B . C . The Brock Project: An In terd i sc ip l inary  Approach with Potential Dropout Seventh-Grade  Boys, Vancouver, B . C . : B r i t i s h Columbia Youth Development Center, 1974. Middleton, R.W. The effectiveness of early i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of potent ial high school dropouts. Dissertat ion Abstracts Internat ional , 1979, V o l . 40 (11A), 5677. M i l l e r , S . M . , Saleem, B . L . and Bryce, H. School  Dropouts: A Commentary and Annotated  Bibl iography, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse Univers i ty Youth Development Center, 1964. Mimeo. Nagay, J . A . The a i r l i n e tryout of the standard f l ight-check for the a i r l i n e transport ra t ing . Washington: C i v i l Aeronautics Administration, 1949, Div i s ion of Research, Report No. 88. N e i l l , S.B. ed. Keeping Students in School, Problems and Solutions: American Association of School Administrators AASA C r i t i c a l Issues Report, Sacramento, C a l i f o r n i a : Education News Service, 1979. Old, F. Factors which encourage and i n h i b i t s e l f d i sc losure; an exploratory study. Unpublished master's thes is . University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1983. Nielsen, A. and Gerber, D. Psychosocial Aspects of  Truancy in Early Adolescence. New York: Libra Publishers, Inc . , 1979. Pawlovich, W. "What Early School Leavers Say About Their School Experiences." (paper presented at the Canadian Guidance and Counsel lor's Convention, Fredr ic ton , New Brunswick, 1983). Preston, H.O. Events Affect ing Reenlistment Decisions. Pittsburgh: American Inst i tute for Research, 1953. Report on Education, 104 Annual Report: July 1, 1974  to June 30, 1975. V i c t o r i a , B . C . : Ministry of Education, 1975. Report on Education, 110 Annual Report: July 1, 1980  to June 30, *\98~. V i c t o r i a , B . C . : Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 1979. School Act: Consolidated Sept. 4, 1981. V i c t o r i a , B . C . : Queen's Pr in ter , 1982. Schreiber, D . , Kaplan, B . A . , and Strom, R.D. Dropout  Studies: Design and Conduct. Washington, D.C. National Education Association Library of Congress Catalog No. 65-23042, 1965. Sharpies, B . , et. a l . Patterns of School Attendance in  Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Ministry of Education, 1979. Smith, V . H . , Barr, R. and Burke, D. Alternat ives in Education. Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa, 1976. Speth, E.W., The use of the c r i t i c a l incident technique to establ i sh areas of change accompanying psychotherapy: I . Function of age and education. Unpublished master's thes is , University of  Pittsburgh, 1952. The Province. Vancouver, B .C . Southam Inc. January 2 1984, 3. Titone, J . S . Educational strategies for preventing students from dropping out of high school. Dissertat ion Abstracts Internat ional , 1979, V o l . (11 A), 6458. T o f f l e r , A. The Third Wave. New York: Morrow, 1980. Toney, W.J. Improving class attendance in an urban high school using the scram data feedback processes. Dissertaion Abstracts Internat ional , 1978, V o l . 39 (9) 5254. Young, V. and Reich, C. Patterns of Dropping Out. Toronto, Ontario: Research Department, The Board of Education for the City of Toronto, 1974. 72 APPENDICES 73 APPENDIX A .1 73b Proposed Research Topic T i t l e : School - How Some Re-Entry Students See I t Problem: There i s an i n c r ea s i n g number o f s t uden t s , aged 12 t o 15, t h a t con sc i ou s l y or uncon sc i ou s l y , adopt a pa t t e rn o f behavior t ha t r e s u l t s i n suspension from schoo l o r r e f e r r a l t o a s p e c i a l program designed t o ma in ta in him/her i n s c h o o l . Attendance a t school i s compulsory i n B r i t i s h Columbia f o r c h i l d r e n aged 7 t o 15. The School Act o f B r i t i s h Columbia s ta te s i n Part 6, D i v i s i o n 1 - Compulsory Attendance. Sec t ion 113, Subsect ion 1. H Subject t o exemptions under subsect ion ( 2 ) , every c h i l d over the age o f 7 years and under the age o f 15 years s h a l l a t tend some p u b l i c s choo l dur ing the r e g u l a r s choo l hours every s choo l day, and every parent or guardian who f a i l s or neg lec t s t o cause such a c h i l d under h i s care t o a t tend some p u b l i c s choo l du r i ng the r e g u l a r s choo l hours every schoo l day commits an o f fense and i s l i a b l e on c o n v i c t i o n t o a f i n e not exceeding $10, and each day ' s continuance o f t h i s f a i l u r e o r neg lec t s h a l l c o n s t i t u t e a ' separate o f f e n c e . " Exemptions are granted i f the c h i l d i s be ing educated by o t h e r , s a t i s f a c t o r y means, i s s i c k , has reached a s tand ing equal o r b e t t e r than the l o c a l s choo l o r i s not w i t h i n 4.8 k i l omete r s o f a s c h o o l . In s p i t e o f compulsory at tendance, more and more ado lescents are not a t tend ing s choo l on a r e g u l a r b a s i s . For s e v e r a l decades, researcher s have attempted t o i d e n t i f y the f a c t o r s r e l a t e d t o t ruancy and s choo l dropout. More r e c e n t l y , the focus o f re search has been t o implement programs, w i t h i n the s choo l s , f o r p o t e n t i a l dropouts i n an attempt t o prevent or de lay the schoo l r e f u s a l . A few researcher s have chosen t o ask the students themselves. Whether the student takes a p o s i t i v e stance and re fu se s to go t o schoo l and says s o , or a more evas ive stance and s imply stops a t t e n d i n g , the r e s u l t i s the same - a non -a t tender , a dropout. Because c h i l d r e n are not a l lowed t o q u i e t l y d r i f t out o f the school system, I make the assumption t ha t they f e e l s t r ong l y about s choo l and do not take the d e c i s i o n t o q u i t , l i g h t l y . There fo re , i n o rder t o b e t t e r understand t h i s problem, I have decided t o ask the s tudent s . 73c 6 2. Thesis; One can i d e n t i f y factors within the school system that students see as h e l p f u l i n maintaining them i n school and factors that they see as hindering them or contributing to t h e i r suspension from or dropping out of school. Method; Using the C r i t i c a l Incident Method (Flanagan J95H), I w i l l attempt to i d e n t i f y the factors that the students consider p o s i t i v e and supportive of t h e i r continued attendance at school and those that they consider negative and responsible fo r t h e i r withdrawl from school. I w i l l ask each student two questions. 1. Remember a time i n "regular" school when something r e a l l y awful happened to you. It may have gotten you suspended from school or have made you f e e l l i k e walking out the door and never going back. When you have the event c l e a r l y i n mind, t e l l me about i t . ... What i s i t ? ... What happened before i t ? ... What happened as a r e s u l t of .......? 2. Now, pretend that you are back i n a previous school and something r e a l l y nice i s happening that you are a part of. When you are ready, t e l l me what i s going on. Who else i s there? What are your f e e l i n g s ? Population; Approximately 25 students i n a Re-Entry program f or Junior Secondary students. These students have a l l been r e f e r r e d to the program a f t e r they have experienced considerable d i f f i c u l t y within the school system or a f t e r a prolonged period of school r e f u s a l . Leona Margaret Serediuk Graduate Student - M.A. Counselling Psychology U.B.C. 74 APPENDIX B School District No. 41—Burnaby 5325 KINCAID STREET. BURNABY, B.C. VSG 1W2 74a DATE: 1 983-04-1 3. TO: Ms. Leona Serediuk, Windsor R e e n t r y Program. F R O M : G.C. M i l l e r , A s s i s t an t Superintendent - I n s t r u c t i o n , S U B J E C T : YOUR RESEARCH PROPOSAL FOR M.A. (COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY) PROGRAM. I am responding on Elmer Froese ' s behalf to your request f o r consent to do research f o r your M.A. t h e s i s , us ing student vo lunteers from the Windsor Re-Entry Program. I hope that the la teness of t h i s response does not c reate any problems fo r you. Please accept t h i s correspondence as a u t h o r i z a t i o n to proceed with your research, as o u t l i n e d i n your research p roposa l . I apprec ia te your assurance that the "anon imity , we l f a r e , and i n t e g r i t y of the student subject s w i l l be cons idered above a l l e l s e . " You should be aware that Dr. Blake Ford cha i r s the school d i s t r i c t ' s Research Committee, a s tanding committee which serves to screen most a p p l i c a t i o n s fo r research, p a r t i c u l a r l y those submitted by persons from outs ide of the d i s t r i c t . You need not seek the committee 's approval f o r t h i s project but you may wish to cons ider tapping B l ake ' s e xpe r t i s e as a resource person. You should a l so be aware of the ex i s tence of the "Dropout Prevent ion Committee," a sub-committee of the P o s i t i v e School Cl imate Committee, which has s tud ied the quest ion of the e a r l y i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of p o t e n t i a l school dropouts at an e a r l y age. I be l i eve that the work of t h i s committee and some of i t s f i nd i n g s may have cons iderab le re levance to your study. The persons who probably have the best knowledge of the work of t h i s committee are Judy Doyle, Vice P r i n c i p a l of Cariboo H i l l or Don K e l l e y , Spec ia l Education .Coordinator, based at Car iboo Hi 11. In perusing your research p roposa l , I c o u l d n ' t help but no t i ce that you made reference to an " i n c r ea s i n g number" of dropouts in the f i r s t paragraph and to "more and more adolescents who were not a t tend ing schoo l " in the f i r s t sentence of the t h i r d paragraph. I ' l l take the r i sk of o f f e r i n g u n s o l i c i t e d feedback by posing the f o l l o w i n g quest ions : " Increas ing numbers" r e l a t i v e to what? "More and more" than what? I pose these quest ions because I am f a m i l i a r enough with research to 2 74b 2 -know that the tighter the proposal is in terms of definition, the less likely the researcher is to run into later problems with the Research Committee. Best of luck with your research. I look forward to your findings. GCM/nhs c.c. B.J. Cutcliffe, Principal, McPherson Park Jr. Secondary School K.D. McAteer, Assi sting Princi pal. B. Ford, Supervisor, Staff Development and Program In-Services. 7 5 A P P E N D I X C 76 APPENDICES D AND E 77 APPENDIX F Average Daily Attendance by Type of School for 1980-81 School Year Type of School Average Actual Daily Attendance Possible Daily Attendance Actual as % of Possible Attendance Senior Secondary Secondary Junior Secondary Elementary-senior Secondary Elementary-junior Secondary Elementary 22,905.8 93,557.3 50,919.1 6,995.0 15,051.1 274,923.8 24,800.4 101,911.4 55,474.7 7,617.1 16,069.3 291 ,366.1 92.4 91.8 91.8 91.8 93.7 94.4 Total 464,352.2 497,238.9 93.4 78 APPENDIX G B . C . Secondary School Dropouts Secondary (VIII-XII) % of VIII-XII School Year Dropouts June Net Enrolment 1965-66 8,774 6.3 1966-67 9,039 6.1 1967-68 9,215 5.8 1968-69 11,135 6.5 1969-70 13,262 7.3 1970-71 14,039 7.3 1971-72 17,460 8.7 1972-73 17,591 8.6 1973-74 18,002 8.5 1974-75 16,375 7.5 1975-76 17,827 7.9 1976-77 17,918 7.9 1977-78 17,714 7.8 1978-79 17,519 7.9 79 APPENDIX H F a c i l i t a t i n g Factors and Their Categorization Super-F a c i l i t a t i n g Factor ordinate Factors Frequency Subcategory Category Small school 1 Structure Structure A l l subjects in one class 2 Structure Structure School Awards 7 Authority Relationship Help 5 Authority Relationship Conf l ic t 5 Authority Relationship School subject 23 Schoolwork Meaning Part i cu lar class 7 Schoolwork Meaning Understanding teacher 17 Teachers Relationship Helpful teacher 5 Teachers Relationship Conf l ic t with teacher 5 Teachers Relationship Likeable teacher 4 Teachers Relationship Talented teacher 1 Teachers Relationship "In love" with teacher 1 Teachers Relationship Friendship 23 Students Relationship Play or Sport 11 Students Relationship Recognition of peers 17 Influence Meaning Special events 13 A c t i v i t i e s Meaning Sat i s fact ion or goal 6 A c t i v i t i e s Meaning Valuing school 2 Family Meaning Help with schoolwork 1 Family Relationship Total F a c i l i t a t i n g Factors - 156 ao APPENDIX I Hindering Factors and Their Categorization Super-Hindering Factor ordinate Factors Frequency Subcategory Category Changing classes 11 Structure Structure Routines 11 Structure Structure School too big 7 Structure Structure S i t t i n g in class 4 Structure Structure Rules 4 Structure Structure School ideology 2 Structure Structure Bad reputation 13 Authority Relationship Other c o n f l i c t s 12 Authority Relationship Fighting with students 8 Authority Relationship Smoking 5 Authority Relationship Lateness to school 3 Authority Relationship Truancy 3 Authority Relationship Power Struggles 3 Authority Relationship Unfair punishment 3 Authority Relationship I n a b i l i t y to do work 16 Schoolwork Meaning Insuff ic ient help 16 Schoolwork Meaning Teacher expectations i 15 Schoolwork Meaning Anticipated f a i l u r e 13 Schoolwork Meaning Subject or class 11 Schoolwork Meaning Lack of progress 8 Schoolwork Meaning Picked on or put down 24 Teachers Relationship Didn't l i k e teacher 11 Teachers Relationship D i sc ip l ine 6 Teachers Relationship Physical f ights 3 Teachers Relationship Power struggles 2 Teachers Relationship Fights (verbal , physical) 33 Students Relationship Feel ing d i f ferent 20 Students Relationship Being afra id 12 Students Relationship Not having friends 11 Students Relationship Being embarrassed to face 8 Students Relationship Friends quit or qu i t t ing 15 Influence Meaning Outside interests 11 A c t i v i t i e s Meaning Home problems 19 Family Meaning School caused problems 7 Family Relationship Total Hindering Factors - 350 

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