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Absence from Australian Schools John Ainley. School attendance critically important not only for the individual who suffers educational disadvantage and.

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Presentation on theme: "Absence from Australian Schools John Ainley. School attendance critically important not only for the individual who suffers educational disadvantage and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Absence from Australian Schools John Ainley

2 School attendance critically important not only for the individual who suffers educational disadvantage and the likelihood of further marginalisation the community that must bear the social and economic costs of students dropping out from school little doubt that there is a strong correlation between early leaving and criminal activity, poverty, unemployment and homelessness require urgent remedial action (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training 1996)

3 Non attendance at school truancy, absenteeism, school refusal, school withdrawal and under-age school leaving (dropping out) disciplinary forms of exclusion such as suspension and expulsion officially enrolled but who do not attend school regularly

4 Australian schools Data from 1995 to 1999 –(Ainley & Lonsdale, 2001) Data from 1999 to 2003 –(Withers, 2004) Analysis of SA Data 1997 and 1999 –(Rothman, 2001) ABS data for enrolments and population

5 Absence rates for five states: (Ainley & Lonsdale, 2001)

6 % Absence by Year Level: (Ainley & Lonsdale, 2001)

7 % Absences by Year: (Withers, 2004)

8 Factors associated with absence Multi-level regression of SA primary schools School level –Location (non-metropolitan higher) –Social composition –Unexplained variation between schools Student level –Socioeconomic background (school card) –Indigenous status (Rothman, 2001)

9 Difference ABS population & school enrolments

10 Suspensions and exclusions Rates 1.8% of the school population (1998 State A) 2.5% to 2.7% (1996 to 1998 State B) 5.6% to 6.7% (2000 to 2003 State C) Characteristics Highest levels (44%) aged 13 to 15 Higher among males than females Higher among Indigenous students Lower among LBOTE students Reasons Threat to order (about 40%) Violence (about 30%) Inattention (6%) Substance abuse (10%) Uncertain generalisation Varied policies and practices

11 Data availability Difficult to obtain consistent data Consistency in definition, policy & practice Reporting process in public domain Trends over time Patterns Important as an issue of access

12 International comparisons

13 OECD PISA 2000 –15-year-olds in 32 countries –Australia 6,000 students 230 schools –Assessment and questionnaire –Thematic report: Student Engagement at School Measures of; Participation in the last 2 weeks missed school skipped classes arrived late Sense of belonging based on six questionnaire items (Willms, 2003)

14 Participation scores for 15- year-olds in OECD countries

15 Participation & belonging – PISA 2000

16 Associations from PISA 2000 Variation between schools Correlations at school level –Belonging and participation r = 0.37 –Participation and achievement r = 0.50 –Compositional effects (SES context) –Higher levels: disciplinary climate, relations with teachers & expectations for student success Correlations at student level –Weak correlation between belonging & participation –Socioeconomic status and belonging –Sex and participation (Willms, 2003)

17 Engagement - PISA 2000 Clusters of students Top students – 26% High achievement, high engagement Engaged students – 27% High engagement, slightly lower achievement Students feeling isolated – 20% Low sense of belonging, fairly high achievement Absentee students – 10% Low participation, high absence rates Non academic students – 17% Low literacy skills (>1 sd), low sense of belonging Differences among schools Interactions not structures

18 Participatory engagement – Australian secondary schools Individual Participation related to attitude to school Participation related to academic motivation Females higher than males High SES students more engaged School Engagement related to school climate Overall engagement influences individual engagement Variation among schools (9%) Single sex schools (Fullarton, 2002)

19 Policy and practice

20 Initiatives Two broad approaches –Surveillance –Systematic data compilations –Monitoring and follow up –Discipline policies –Options for suspended students –Communication –Curriculum and learning –School climate and active forms of learning –Focus on the middle years –Inclusiveness –Points of contact –Catering for diverse aspirations & approaches

21 Promoting engagement: Research perspectives School level Opportunities to participate (Newmann, 1981) Multiple points of connection (Finn, 1989) Classroom level Teacher academic & personal support Authentic pedagogy (Newmann et al, 1992) Challenging & extended tasks (Fredericks et al 2004)

22 Engagement & school completion Perspective –Lack of engagement –Withdrawal from activities –Missing classes –Truancy –Non-completion Disenchantment Disengagement Disappearance Evidence –USA Finn (1989) Bryk & Thum (1989) Rumberger (1995) –Australia Ainley & Sheret (1992) Marks et al (2000)

23 Conclusion To catch and to hold (Dewey)


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