Teachers' practices and the implementation of student attendance policy : development of a perceptions instrument
Rosa, Catherine Pascarella
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The purpose of this exploratory study was to collect and examine data related to teachers’ perceptions of their practices as implementers of student attendance policy. A survey instrument, Student Attendance Practices Survey (SAPS), was developed to collect data and to measure the practices related to the implementation of student attendance policy from a sample consisting of middle school teachers (n=269) from schools across Georgia. Survey responses were compared to additional data that were obtained from a review of documents including student attendance policy from each district in the sample and demographic data from each school. A policy implementation framework was used to interpret the results. Construct validity of the SAPS was established through the development activities which included a review of the literature, a series of focus group meetings with middle school teachers, and a pilot by a panel of experts. A series of factor analyses using the sample data were completed to explore the factor structure of the items designed to reflect various aspects of teacher actions related to student attendance policy identified through a review of policy literature. Results revealed a five-factor solution. Subscales were identified as Communicating with Parents, Truancy Prevention, Record Keeping, Enforcing Policy, and Supporting Students. Two middle schools not included in the study sample were used to determine test-retest stability reliability. Internal consistency was examined using Cronbach’s alpha analysis for the complete survey data from the sample. Implications of the findings of this study are provided as they relate to policy makers, future researchers of educational policy, school leaders, and teachers. A policy model is expanded and suggestions for use in analyzing individual implementer environments within the larger framework of policy analysis are presented.