Attitudes to school of poor attenders.

Craik, James B (1985). Attitudes to school of poor attenders. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000fcd7

Abstract

Previous research has shown that secondary schools frequently differ from one another in the way they deal with their pupils' "instrumental" and "expressive" needs and thus may exert an influence on the attitudes of their pupils which may have some effect on their attendance, independent of the effects of adverse social attitudes and family circumstances.

The present study has pursued this area of inquiry but has changed the focus from general instrumental and expressive needs to four specific factors (namely, job activity preferences; job satisfactions; perceptions of the teacher and peer behaviour in school and spare time leisure activities) and the responses to them by 46 poor attenders and a matched group of good attenders.

These poor attenders (20 boys and 26 girls) and their controls who were drawn from stage S2 and stage S3 of a "bottom-tier" comprehensive school, participated in the first year of the study (data collected in May 1978). During the second year of the study (data collected in May 1979) seven poor attenders were "lost".

The measuring instruments used were (a) The Crowley Occupational Interests Blank, (b) Finlayson's School Climate Index and (c) a local activities questionnaire.

With only minor exceptions, the responses of the two groups were similar and consistent. Although, when selected, the matched/matched pairs were clearly differentiated with respect to their attendance records, they were not so in terms of the factors examined. There was a trend for the good attenders to be absent more and become more like the poor attenders as they grew older.

Attempts were made to identify where the school could use knowledge of poor attenders’ job interests and satisfactions to help influence attitudes and reduce absenteeism.

There was no evidence that the bad attenders felt the teachers to be less concerned or more punitive.

The relationships between teachers and pupils were seen to be of prime importance.

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