PSYCHOLOGICAL VARIABLES RELATED TO CLASS CUTTING
ENGELBERG, FREDELYN ESTER
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On any school day high school students may be seen passing time around the building. They may be alone or in groups, playing games or just standing around, but all have one thing in common: they are "cutting" classes. Are these students different from those who are attending their classes?;The study explored the contemporary attendance pattern in which students attend some but not all their classes on any given day. The subjects were 986 ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders enrolled in a integrated public high school located about fifteen miles north of New York City. Students with high rates of class cutting and those with low rates of class cutting were compared on the following variables: locus of control (as measured by the Nowicki-Strickland CNS-IE Scale), sense of responsibility (as measured by D. B. Harris' Social Attitudes Scale), social class position (as measured by the Two Factor Index of Social Position), semester grade averages, and rate of school absenteeism. Both correlational analysis and t-tests were used to test the hypotheses that students with different rates of cutting would differ on the selected variables. Patterns of cutting with respect to year in school, sex, and race were subject to an analysis of variance. The study reviewed adolescent development, recent literature on school absenteeism on the secondary school level, and literature on locus of control in the adolescent population.;The results showed a median rate of 5 to 6 class cuts per student in the semester under study. Ten per cent of the sample cut from five to ten per cent of their classes. Rate of cutting increased with year in school. The relationship of rate of cutting to locus of control was statistically significiant but not meaningful for understanding students who cut classes. Sense of responsibility had a stronger, but marginally meaningful, relationship to class cutting. There was a slight tendency for students with high cutting rates to have higher rates of school absenteeism as well. Semester grade averages had the strongest relationship to class cutting of any variable in the study. Class cutting was not related to social class position.;Results were discussed in terms of the necessity of the school to recognize the problem so that alternatives for students who do not adapt to the demands of the school may be explored. Several directions for further research were given.
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