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A test of validity of place residence as an indicator of socio-economic characteristics of participants in university non-credit evening classes Jones, Harvey Gordon

Abstract

The central problem of this study is to test the validity of using census tract data for the area of residence to determine the socio-economic characteristics of participants in university evening non-credit classes. This study has also explored certain socio-economic characteristics of university extension participants through an analysis of data of a 392 member sample from the participants in University of British Columbia Extension non-credit evening courses. The method used in this study was the analytical survey method. A fifty-seven class universe was stratified according to the type of class to form twelve groups. A random sample of classes in each of the twelve groups was selected, with the participants of the classes comprising the sample. Data obtained from the sample by questionnaire, was scrutinized on three accounts: the total sample, the segment of the sample residing in Vancouver, and the segment of the sample residing in the area outside Vancouver. An analysis of this data was carried out to determine certain socio-economic characteristics of the sample and to determine whether the socio-economic characteristics of persons attending the evening classes from specific census tracts were representative of all evening class participants. The second phase of this study was concentrated on the analysis of data for a fifteen tract segment of the Vancouver portion of the sample to determine whether there was a significant difference with respect to certain socio-economic characteristics between the total population in a given census tract and residents from the tract attending non-credit evening classes. The chi-square was used to test data for the fifteen tract area. Social status of the sample was analysed using data for the total labour force by application of the Blishen scale. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the study of certain socio-economic characteristics of the total population in a given census tract and residents from that tract attending university non-credit evening classes is the demonstration of the significant difference in the characteristics of these two categories of persons. Results of the analysis of data for this study indicate that people who participate in university extension classes are above average in socio-economic status. The methodology for determining the socio-economic characteristics of participants in university non-credit classes through use of census tract data for the area of residence would, therefore, be invalid.

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