Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Richard E. Munsterman

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Sheffer

Third Advisor

Gene Duffin


The purposes of this study were to examine the perceptions of middle school administrators, probation officers, and judges regarding chronic absenteeism of rural middle school students and to evaluate a school-court pilot program designed to deal with chronic attendance problems.

Four major research questions were examined in this paper. First, do rural middle schools have chronically absent students? Second, if there are such students, is their chronic absenteeism symptomatic of other serious problems? Third, if there are such students, do the school administrators, probation officers, and judges want to cooperate to deal with those students? Finally, do these three groups have different perceptions of the effectiveness of the proposed school-court truancy program.

The method of data collection was survey research. An instrument was sent to a sample of middle school administrators, probation officers, and judges.

Four hypotheses examining the significant differences in the perceived effectiveness of each step of the pilot program by these groups were tested by use of the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Analysis of the data did not indicate any significant differences. Therefore, no conclusions about different perceptions of this program by these three groups can be made. Further analysis of the data did show that the four steps of the pilot program were strongly supported by these groups. Four other hypotheses were developed to test the differences in the perceptions of each group concerning the extent of the absenteeism, whether absenteeism is symptomatic of other school and/or home problems, and whether the surveyed groups presently work together to deal with the chronic absentee problem. When testing these hypotheses, the alpha level of .05 was used in the chi square of independence. It was concluded that there was a difference in the percentage of chronic absentees as perceived by each of the surveyed groups. However, no significant differences were found for the other three hypotheses. Further examination of the descriptive data tended to establish that all groups perceived that chronic absentees have other school and/or home problems, and that the three surveyed groups do cooperate in dealing with chronic absentees.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access