UBC Theses and Dissertations
Patterns of participation in a public adult night school program Dickinson, James Gary
The problem of retention in public adult night school programs appears to be related to the socio-economic characteristics of participants and to the length and nature of the courses in which they enroll. Three hypotheses arising from this problem were tested in this study of participation patterns. The first of these stated that there are no statistically significant differences in certain socio-economic characteristics of participants who are enrolled in courses of different types or lengths. The second hypothesis tested was that there are no statistically significant differences in certain socio-economic characteristics between those participants who persist in attendance and those who drop out in the total program or in courses of different types and lengths. The third hypothesis stated that there are no significant differences in attendance patterns between the three types of courses or between courses of different lengths. The data used in this study were derived from 2,075 registration cards and ninety-eight completed attendance registers. Distributions for nine socio-economic characteristics of participants and dropouts were tested for statistically significant differences by chi square, and attendance patterns for courses of different types and lengths were compared using the critical ratio procedure. Four of the socio-economic characteristics of participants showed statistically significant differences at the .01 level in the distributions by course type and length while five did not. The significant characteristics included sex, age, marital status, and occupation. Thus in regard to these four characteristics, the Surrey program enrolled a different clientele for the three types of courses. Academic course participants tended to be young, single males in clerical, labourer, and transportation-communication occupational groups. General course registrants were the oldest group and consisted mainly of housewives. Vocational course participants occupied the median position between academic and general in each of the four significant characteristics. Twenty-eight percent of the registrants in the Surrey program were classified as dropouts. Three of the socio-economic characteristics tested showed statistically significant differences between persistent attenders and dropouts in the analysis by course type. These significant characteristics included age, marital status, and occupation. None of the characteristics tested were statistically significant at the .01 level in the distributions by course length. The highest number of dropouts occurred for young unmarried enrollees in academic courses while the lowest number occurred for housewives and those in the older age groups in general courses. An inconsistent downward trend was noted in average daily attendance for all courses. From a peak ADA of eighty-seven percent at the second session the attendance declined to thirty-eight percent at the forty-fifth session for a total loss of forty-nine percent. Short courses in the genera] interest category tended to maintain attendance at a higher level than did long courses in the academic and vocational categories.