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The influence of alternate course locations on distances travelled by participants in urban adult evening classes Melton, James Edward


The distances travelled by non-credit evening class participants of two adult education institutions, the University of British Columbia Extension Department and the Vancouver School Board Night Schools, were studied by means of the analytic survey method. The participants in most of the non-credit courses offered on the campus by the Extension Department in one term were included in the study. A much smaller sample population of courses was selected from the three major night school centers operated by the Vancouver School Board. The participants of both institutions were grouped into two categories, Unique or Common. Unique participants were those who could obtain the course they attended at that one location only. Common participants were those who could have chosen alternative course locations. The distances travelled from place of residence to course location by Unique and Common Extension participants were compared as were the distances travelled by Unique and Common night school participants. The chi-square test of independence was used in the comparisons of the distributions of Unique and Common participants while the significance of the differences between the mean distances travelled and between the median distances travelled was determined by the use of critical ratios. The .01 level of confidence was the criterion used to determine the significance of differences. Distances travelled by Extension participants were found not to be influenced by alternative course locations in the same community when these alternatives were public school night school centers. Participants came from the whole of metropolitan Vancouver and distance did not seem to be a barrier within this area. Alternative course location in comparable centers in the community was found to influence the travel patterns of public school night school participants. Courses available at a single location attracted participants from the whole community whereas courses offered at three locations tended to attract participants more from the neighborhood of the center. Although there was some participation from the greater metropolitan area, the night schools tended more to serve the city alone than did the Extension Department. These findings suggest that the usefulness or necessity of additional Extension course locations in the metropolitan area is questionable. However, an increase in the number of public school evening course locations would seem likely to yield increased participation providing care was taken to avoid the competition which may result when new locations are placed too close to existing ones.

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