The Relationship between School Truancy Rates and Court Cases
Research, albeit it clinical, case study, empirical, descriptive, historical, or any combination thereof, must exhibit and command interest, enthusiasm, and passionate commitment. The first step in the attainment of a desired research effort, one that convinces the reader as to the topic's efficacy and usefulness, is to develop a scientific approach toward the phenomenon under investigation. Second, a research investigator can only accomplish meaningful research if he or she is able to grasp the intimate and often difficult relations that exist between the research question and the research design and methodology of its solution. All research must be relational, structural, and architectural.
The desired research methodology selected for the current research investigation is descriptive in design wherein the overall relationship between school truancy rates and the number of court cases filed with the Harris County Juvenile Court System was examined both qualitatively and quantitatively. The descriptive methodology chosen was used to obtain information regarding the status of a phenomenon (school truancy) and used to describe what exists (number of juvenile court cases in Harris County) with respect to certain variables and conditions. The methods involved not only include a correlation analysis between the selected variables of the data but also an examination of the effects of certain other main effect and secondary effect variables (independent variables) on a the measured outcome (number of juvenile cases in the Harris County Juvenile Court). In order to garner the necessary data the following research assumptions were used as a basis for the study:
1. Truancy rates in the Harris County School system directly impacts the number of juvenile court cases recorded in Harris County.
2. Truancy rates in the Harris County School system and the number of cases filed in the Harris County Juvenile Court system is directly related to criminal behavior.
3. Truancy rates in the Harris County School system are multivariable affected by gender, grade level, socio-economic class, single parent family status, gang or peer affiliation, the ability the subject to communicate (self-disclose) to significant others, and parent involvement in school activities and events.
On the basis of the research assumptions presented above the following main effect research questions were formulated:
1. To what extent does there exists a statistically significant correlation or relationship between overall school truancy rates and court cases filed in Harris County, Houston, Texas.
2. To what extent is there a statistically significant relationship or correlation between school truancy and offensive criminal behavior?
3. To what extent does there exist a statistically significant relationship between truancy rates in the Harris County schools and school-parent efficacy?
The secondary research questions formulated for the present research investigation, and based on the aforementioned main effect research questions, were as follows:
To what extent is there a statistically significant effect of gender, grade level, socio-economic class, single parent family status, gang or peer affiliation, and the ability of the subject to communicate (self-disclose) to significant others on Harris County School system truancy rates?
To what extent is there a statistically significant effect of gender, grade level, socio-economic class, single parent family status, gang or peer affiliation, the ability of the subject to communicate (self-disclose) to significant others on Harris County Juvenile Court system cases?
To what extent does the Harris County School system offer school students programs for the purpose of curbing school truancy?
As school environment efficacy is thought to affect the academic achievements of students as well as truancy rates, which in turn affects the entire juvenile court system and possible juvenile crime rates, the success of these students depends, therefore, on the collective school-parent efficacy within the Harris County School system. What becomes imperative, therefore, is that school-parent efficacy is rigorously examined to determine if a relationship exists between efficacy, truancy, court appearances, and juvenile crime rates.
This study's primary hypotheses, based on the need brought forth by the review of the literature and the research questions listed above, are that Harris County Schools who provide school-parent interaction also report lower truancy and juvenile court appearances. In contrast, schools that do not provide school-teacher efficacy situations will show an increased rate of school truancy and juvenile court appearances.
The study's primary null hypothesis will be that there would no statistically significant relationship or correlation between Harris County schools who provide school-parent efficacy situations and those schools who do not with respect to rate of student truancy and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime. On the basis of a formulated main effect null hypothesis the following secondary null hypotheses will be tested:
Ho1: There will be no statistically significant effect at the .05 alpha level of gender on Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime.
Ho2: There will be no statistically significant effect, at the .05 alpha level, of grade level on Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime.
Ho3: There will be no statistically significant effect, at the .05 alpha level, of socio-economic on Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime.
Ho4: There will be no statistically significant effect, at the .05 alpha level, of female based and intact family status on Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime.
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant effect, at the .05 alpha level, of peer or gang affiliation and non-gang peer affiliation on Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant effect, at the .05 alpha level, of the student's ability to communicate (self-disclose) to significant others Harris School system truancy rates and juvenile court appearances and juvenile crime as measured by the Jourard Self-Disclosure Questionnaire.
Definition of Terms
Throughout this research investigation the following list of terms and concepts will be used most extensively; therefore, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, they were operationally defined as follows:
Truancy Defined by the Harris County School system as
Gender. Male students and female students.
Intact family. Defined's a nuclear family consisting of one father, one mother and one or more biological off-spring.
Female-based family. A nuclear family which has undergone disunity through divorce or separation and the children remain with the mother.
Socio-economic class. SES refers to the measure of family wealth as determined by a family's income and perceived social position according to the Census Bureau.
Gang or peer related affiliation. Belonging to or not belonging to a known group.
Self-Disclosure. Defined as a person's ability to relate to others (Jourard, 1959).
School-parent efficacy. The extent to which a school provides parents active participation opportunities in a students learning process.
Measurement Reliability and Validity Factors
Internal validity refers to cause and effect relationships among the study variables. Because the survey instrument had been used in previous research studies (find an instrument that has been used in other states or change the wording to reflect that you are developing your own instrument), validity and reliability of these instruments had already been established. In cases where the researcher will conduct the research in person, the researcher will have the opportunity to explain any items that are not clear. This will bolstered the internal validity of the study. Further, as indicated above, internal consistency reliability analysis will be run on the exogenous variables and the dependent variable. This will add to the internal validity of the study itself.
There may exist some selection bias in this study given the schools from which the sample is chosen. Therefore, results will not be generalized to schools outside of the Harris County, or schools that differ from those included here. As discussed in the method of analysis section, statistical validity will be established in this study by addressing each of the related assumptions of statistical tests. For example, before running regression models, it will established that the variables are normally distributed, are related in a linear fashion, and there is homoscedasticity but no multicollinearity amongst the independent variables.
The present study will employ a survey and test measurement design that yields both qualitative and quantitative data. Survey measurement data will be collected from one measurement instrument that garners data with respect to all assigned variables (gender, grade level, familial status, gang-peer group affiliation, school-parent efficacy programs, and socio-economic status). This assessment instrument will be administered to selected school officials whop are accountable for student attendance and truancy Information with respect to court appearances will be garnered by way of court official interviews and review of available court records for which permission will be granted by the court to inspect and review. (Be sure here that in Harris County you can, indeed, inspect a juvenile's record. In Ohio you cannot) Necessary data with respect to measuring self-disclosure will made available by administering the Jourard Self-Disclosure Questionnaire to a select group of juveniles presently being held in detention centers due to violation truancy laws. Data from the Jourard scale…