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Received:June 15, 2015
Revision received:April 5, 2016
Accepted:July 23, 2016
OnlineFirst:August 15, 2016
Copyright © 2016EDAM
www.estp.com.tr
DOI10.12738/estp.2016.6.0125December 201616(6)18191831
Research Article
KURAM VE UYGULAMADA EĞİTİM BİLİMLERİEDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
Citation:Balkıs, M., Arslan, G., & Duru, E. (2016). The school absenteeism among high school students: Contributing factors.
Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 16,1819–1831.
* This paper was presented at the International Congress on Education for the Future: Issues and Challenges, Ankara, May 2015.
1 Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance, Pamukkale University, Denizli Turkey. Email: mbalkis@pau.edu.tr
2Correspondence to:Gökmen Arslan (PhD), Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance, Suleyman Demirel
University, Isparta Turkey. Email: gkmnarslan@gmail.com
3 Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance, Pamukkale University, Denizli Turkey. Email: eduru@pau.edu.tr
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the direct and indirect relationship between student school absenteeism,
personal factors (academic self- perception, attitudes towards teacher and school, goal valuation and motivation/
self-regulation), family factors (parents’ educational level and income), and academic achievement in structural
equation model. Four hundred and twenty three high school students participated in the study. The findings
revealed that student absenteeism was negatively related to academic self-perception, attitudes towards teacher
and school, goal valuation, motivation/ self-regulation, and academic performance. Results also revealed that
student absenteeism differed in respect to parents’ educational level and income. Results from SEM analyses
noticed that personal and family factors significantly predict previous and current student absenteeism. SEM
analyses also revealed that previous student absenteeism significantly predict previous academic achievement.
Finally, SEM analyses noticed that previous student absenteeism and previous academic achievement can
predict current student absenteeism. Contribution and implications of these findings were discussed in detail.
Keywords
School absenteeism • Personal factors • Family factors • Academic achievement • Adolescence
Murat Balkıs1
Pamukkale University
Gökmen Arslan2
Süleyman Demirel University
Erdinç Duru3
Pamukkale University
The School Absenteeism among High School Students:
Contributing Factors*
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EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
All students, yet for one reason or another, at one time or other time want miss to
a day of school. The general tendency to engage in such unwillingness is referred to
absenteeism. Student absenteeism is defined byTeasley (2004)as a period of time
when a student does not attend school, has become major and continuous problem
among high school students in many countries. Indeed, numerous studies conducted
to answer a question that is why high school students miss classes. In this notion,
Teasleyhave noted numerous risk factors that contribute to student absenteeism such
as family health, low income, poor school climate, drug and alcohol use, transportation
problems, and community attitudes towards education.Pehlivan (2006)found that
the major reason given by students for non-attendance at lecture or school were
bored at school, dislike of school and lessons, encouragement of friends, and lack of
expectations about education.Wilkins (2008)has reported four themes, which play
important role to motivate students to attend school such as school climate, academic
environment, discipline, and relationships with teachers.Ingul, Klöckner, Silverman,
and Nordahl (2012)found that school absenteeism associated with internalizing and
externalizing behavior, family work and health, and school environment. In another
study,Henry (2007)has noted that parents’ education levels contribute to students’
absenteeism.Simons, Hwang, Fitzgerald, Kielb, and Lin (2010)found that there
are an association between absenteeism of student and unfavorable school setting
conditions. In addition, some researches argued that students’ attitude and motivation
for learning was a key factor in student absenteeism (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996; Gump,
2006; Gökyer, 2012; Kottasz, 2005; Marburger, 2001; Paisey & Paisey, 2004). For
example,Kottasz (2005)found that student with low motivation are absent more than
student with high motivation level.Schwartz, Radcliffe, and Barakat (2009)reported
that absenteeism negatively related to future-oriented academic goals.Watkins and
Watkins (1994)found that student absenteeism was predicted by academic failure,
low school effort and previous grades. Another group authors argued that students’
attitude towards teacher and school play important role in school absenteeism
(Adıgüzel & Karadaş, 2013; Attwood & Croll, 2006; Gökyer, 2012; Pehlivan, 2006;
Veenstra, Lindenberg, Tinga, & Ormel, 2010; Wilkins, 2008). For example,Adıgüzel
and Karadaş (2013)found that student with high level of absenteeism reported
negative attitudes towards school.Attwood and Croll (2006)found that students’
negative attitude to teachers is related to school absenteeism. As a result, school
absenteeism has a complex nature that includes risk factors associated with personal,
academic, family, school environment, and social variables.
Because of absenteeism has a complex nature, the consequences of high level
school absenteeism can be detrimental for students. In the other words, the absenteeism
among high school students can lead to more negative effect such as low academic
performance and many social problems. In regarding relationship between student
absenteeism and academic achievement,Epstein and Sheldon (2002)stated that student
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Balkıs, Arslan, Duru/ The School Absenteeism among High School Students: Contributing Factors
with absenteeism miss opportunities to learn the material that enables them to succeed
later in school and; fall behind their classmates in academic achievement. In this notion,
previous studies has revealed that student absenteeism is related academic failure and
academic performance (Adıgüzel & Karadaş, 2013; Altınkurt, 2008; Gottfried, 2009;
Klem & Connell, 2004; Korir, Charo, Ogichi, & Thinguri, 2014; McCluskey, Bynum,
& Putchin, 2004; Moonie, Streling, Figgs, & Castro, 2008; Nichols, 2003; Morrissey,
Hutchison, & Winsler, 2014; Yakovlev & Kinney, 2008). In addition some authors
believed that level of academic achievement lead school absenteeism (Devadoss & Foltz
2001; Watkins & Watkins, 1994; Wayt, 1990). Student absenteeism is also associated
with social problems. In this notion,Smink and Reimer (2005)stated that student with
absenteeism often engage in high-risk behaviors that lead to referral to the juvenile
justice system. Indeed, research has revealed that student absenteeism is related to
juvenile delinquency (McCray, 2006; McCluskey et al., 2004; Smink & Reimer, 2005).
Previous studies noticed that there is strong relationship between student absenteeism
and school dropout (Battin-Pearson et al., 2000; Alexander et al., 2001 as cited in
Tanner-Smith & Wilson, 2013, p. 469). In conclusion, student absenteeism impacts not
only students’ educational progress but also affects their social development.
The Current Study
When examining the related literature, plenty of studies take place about the
reasons and effects of student absenteeism in abroad. However, in our country,
this issue is not taken into account enough. In addition, it is important note that the
variables taken into consideration in this study were examined separately by previous
studies. On the other hand, integrated examination of these factors in a single study
may provide us the beneficial information about the nature of relationship among
these variables. In consequence, the aim of this study is to examine relationship
between personal factors (academic self-perception, attitudes towards teacher and
school, motivation and goal valuation), family characteristics (parents’ educational
level and income), student absenteeism and academic achievement in structural
equation model. Within personal factors, previous studies have found associations
betweenstudentabsenteeism,academicself-perception(Corville-Smith,Ryan,
Adams, & Dalicandro, 1998), motivation (Moore, Armstrong, & Pearson, 2008),
attitudes towards teacher and school (Attwood & Croll, 2006; Valiente, Lemery-
Chalfant, Swanson, & Reiser, 2008). In addition previous studies have also found that
these personal factors were related with academic achievement (McCoach & Siegle,
2003). These studies reported students with negative academic self-perception,
negative attitude towards teacher and school, and lower level of motivation had high
rate of absenteeism. Thus, it is hypothesis that personal factors would be predictor
of previous and current absenteeism, and academic achievement (H1). Student
absenteeism is also related with family factors. Previous studies found link between
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EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
student absenteeism, academic achievement (Hortaçsu, 1995), parents’ education
level (Henry, 2007) and socioeconomic status family (Ingul et al., 2012). The
common findings of these studies were students from low level SES and education of
family had high rate of school absence and low level of academic achievement. It is
hypothesis that family factors would be predictor of previous and current absenteeism,
and academic achievement (H2). Finally, the different views exist on the relationships
between absenteeism and academic achievement. Some authors noted that students
who attend school regularly have higher academic achievement than students with
high absences (e.g. Klem & Connell, 2004). The other group authors believed that
student with low level of academic achievement were more likely to have a higher
rate of school absence (Devadoss & Foltz, 2001). It may be expected that there is a
reciprocal relationship between academic achievement and student absenteeism. In
other words, while student absenteeism may affect academic achievement, academic
achievement may affect student absenteeism as well. Thus, it is hypothesis that
previous absenteeism would predict previous academic achievement in turn previous
academic achievement would predict current absenteeism (Figure 1).
Method
Participants
This study included a total of 423 high school students studying in grades 9–12 in
two public schools in an urban city, Turkey. (58.4% of boys and 41.6% of girls). The
Figure1. Theoretical model.
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