Too Late to Learn: Student Tardiness in the Middle School Essay Sample

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 This study investigated the social, economic, emotional, medical and psychological reasons for student tardiness in a middle school setting. The National Education for Statistics indicates that student tardiness occurs at a rate of 3.3% to 9.5% each day for all students in kindergarten through grade twelve (Harrman, 2007). It is clear from literature that tardiness is a major problem. Not only do students lose valuable educational instruction when they arrive late, but they disrupt the educational environment and distract others who are in the class. Excessive student tardiness has a negative impact upon a student’s future (Ried, 2000). Some of the implications are academic failure, high school drop-outs, emotional dependency, drug dependency, fighting and bullying (Chang & Romero, 2008). Student tardiness is a key factor in determining if a child will become at risk (Greenfield, 2002). Without intervention, tardy behaviors often result in serious emotional and social problems (Harrman, 2007). Within a qualitative design, the researcher interviewed chronically tardy students individually and in a focus group.

Study findings evolved into functional suggestions for intervention strategies focused on students and parents which can be implemented by schools and local, state and national government agencies with the goal of reducing tardiness in the middle school. Methods of dealing with tardiness vary from school to school, grade level to grade level, and teacher to teacher. The best systems are those that are school-wide and strictly enforced. For example, a high school might have a “tardy card,” which allows students to be late to a total of three classes per semester. When the student is late, the instructor signs the tardy card. If the student does not have her tardy card or has reached the limit, then she gets a referral for tardiness. An additional component to this system really seems to motivate students: If they get through the semester without a single signature on their cards, the card gets entered in a drawing for prizes. If your school does not have a unified policy or does not enforce the policy they do have, then it is up to you as the teacher to come up with a fair and consistent way of handling inevitable tardiness.

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