Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Ed Bengtson

Committee Member

John Pijanowski

Second Committee Member

Bobbi Williams

Abstract

Student attendance would seem to be a vital link in measuring student success in school. If students are not in school, they miss instruction from the teacher. Without instruction it seems incredibly difficult to complete the work needed to pass classes and be successful in school. The research explored the problem of practice of student absenteeism in a rural school. The study was conducted using mixed methods research methodology, specifically a sequential mixed methods research design. The research questions were as follows: (1) What explicit or implicit messages are parents and the school sending about school attendance? (2) What is the perceived effectiveness of the current attendance policy? (2) What is the perceived value held by teachers, administrators, and parents of student attendance in school? Quantitative data was collected to answer the question of whether or not the participating school had an attendance problem and to create a demographic profile of students who are chronically absent. Qualitative data was collected to better understand the nature of the problem, potential causes of the problem, and how to possibly create interventions to help solve the problem. In answering the research questions findings suggest the participating school does have an attendance problem and can be related to three major themes: (1) The messages sent and received by families and employees of the school, (2) the frustrating nature of an unenforced attendance policy, (3) the attitudes and values of parents and employees of the school regarding attendance and how they communicate those values with students. Specific recommendations are made to address the implications of continuing with an attendance policy perceived to be ineffective and in regards to interventions that may be successful at slowing the tide of chronic absenteeism in the participating school.