The influence of family and school circumstances on school attendance in elementary children
AuthorSage, Alexander Christian
Education, Educational Psychology.
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
AdvisorBergan, John R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSchool records of 421 third grade students from regular classrooms in six Tucson Unified School District elementary schools were examined. Two schools were selected to represent each of three populations: middle class, working class, and desegragated populations. Nine measures were obtained: (1) gender, (2) ethnicity, (3) number of parents living with the student, (4) parents, employment status, (5) number of siblings, (6) number school transfers, (7) distance between home and school, (8) students, grade awarded by teacher, and (9) number of school absences. School absences fell into three categories, based on reasons for the absences: health, personal, and unexcused. Structural equations analysis was used to model the causal relationships between the family and school variables and school absences. Two latent variables (factors) were proposed to explain the relationships between the family variables and the school characteristics. The family factor characterized the dichotomy between socially-advantaged and disadvantaged families. Socially-advantaged families were primarily white with two employed parents. Socially-disadvantaged families were overwhelmingly minorities headed by a single parent. The school factor also characterized social circumstances: advantaged schools were middle class, white, high-achieving, high parental involvement, and no social programs. As social class decreased, the schools became increasingly minority, low-achieving, low parental involvement, and had social programs. Socially-advantaged circumstances promoted better attendance. Students from socially-advantaged homes and school had fewer health and unexcused absences as compared to disadvantaged students. Advantaged family circumstances promoted advantaged school circumstances. However, middle class homes with single incomes promoted better school involvement by the parents. Students from segregated schools and single income families had more personal absences (family trips). These families appear to take more vacations during the school year. Finally, students with numerous health absences were likely to have more personal and unexcused absences. The results of this study suggested that different avenues need to be taken to promote the attendance of students from disadvantaged families and schools.
Degree ProgramGraduate College