An analysis of existing attendance policies and their relationship to secondary school student attendance rates in the Newport News (Virginia) public schools (1977-1978)
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the extant relationship between formal statements of attendance policy, as implemented by each school administrator. and the associated student absentee rates. Four high schools in Newport News, Virginia, each which used somewhat differing attendance policies were examined. The school which used an alternative attendance policy was compared to each of the other three schools. each of which used a variation of a traditional attendance policy. In addition, failure and dropout rates were examined to determine the relationship among the school attendance policies and these variables.
A comprehensive review of the related literature revealed numerous variables which affected student attendance rates. In order to determine the comparability of the schools, it was necessary to descriptively examine and statistically test by school, selected relationships among the following variables: family income level, parental educational attainment level, the age, sex, teaching experience and educational qualifications of each school's faculty, and the sex composition and the SRA scores in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and use of sources of each school's student body.
In general terms, it can be concluded that the school which used the alternative attendance policy differed in significant respects from the other three schools among many, though not all, of the dimensions measured. Due to these differences, it was not possible to single out the attendance policy specifically as the most important variable associated with actual attendance rates. It may be concluded, however, that given the demographic and educational characteristics generally associated with favorable (low) absentee rates as those present in the other schools and given the data presented in this study, the alternative attendance policy may well have been causing favorable effects, that is as a descriptive observation, the school which used the alternative attendance policy had, for reasons inexplicable save for the policy, lower than expected student absentee rates.
It also may be concluded from the findings that perhaps, the use of the alternative attendance policy decreased the failure rates because more students attended more classes each day. Finally, the used alternative attendance policy did not influence the dropout rate among schools.