Rothma

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Submitted By castroroyden50
Words 5317
Pages 22
International Education Journal Vol 2, No 1, 2001
59

http://iej.cjb.net

School absence and student background factors:
A multilevel analysis
Sheldon Rothman
Massachusetts Department of Education srothman@doe.mass.edu
As part of regular collections, South Australian government schools provide data on students, including individual student absences during one full term (usually 10 weeks).
These data were analysed to understand how student absence is affected by student background and school contexts. A multilevel statistical model of student absence was developed using data collected in 1997, and repeated for 1999. This paper presents the findings for students in primary schools, showing that absence rates for indigenous students, while higher than the rates for non-indigenous students, are affected by school factors such as the concentration of indigenous students in the school and school socioeconomic status. student attendance, student absence, multilevel models, socioeconomic status, indigenous students

Introduction
Regular attendance is an important factor in school success. Students who are chronic nonattenders receive fewer hours of instruction; they often leave education early and are more likely to become long term unemployed, homeless, caught in the poverty trap, dependent on welfare, and involved in the justice system (House of Representatives 1996, p. 3). High rates of student absenteeism are believed to affect regular attenders as well, because teachers must accommodate non-attenders in the same class. It has been suggested that chronic absenteeism is not a cause of academic failure and departure from formal education, but rather one of many symptoms of alienation from school. Chronic absenteeism, truancy and academic failure may be evidence of a dysfunctional relationship between student and school, suggesting that schools…...

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