Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why are Students Tardy? A Spatial Analysis of the Factors Leading to Tardies

Dakota McDurham, Environmental Studies Interdisciplinary Program

In response to state budget cuts, many school districts are beginning to eliminate busing to magnet schools. With this change, many principals are noticing a dramatic spike in the number of tardy students. Tardies have increased from an average of 5 to 15 tardies a week before the cuts, to an average of 100 a week. The average arrival time of tardy students has also increased by almost an hour. This spike in tardies introduces the following questions: Is distance from the school a major factor in whether or not a student is tardy? What other factors make students tardy? This study started with the
school’s tardy information, a database containing students based on an arbitrary student ID number, their address, and the number of times they have been late/marked tardy. The addresses were geo-referenced in order to protect anonymity. The distance of the students’ homes from school could then be calculated along with other factors found in the census. This data was graphed comparing the difference between each distance zone and their respective tardies. Other factors were also analyzed such as: poverty and income levels, access to vehicles, and single parent or grandparent housing.

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