A comparative study of urban and rural students attending two urban schools on selected attitudinal variables and academic achievement

Adams, David Ross (1977) A comparative study of urban and rural students attending two urban schools on selected attitudinal variables and academic achievement. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In Newfoundland, there is a widespread practice of transporting students from small rural communities to larger centers to attend school. Most of the junior high schools and senior high schools in St. John's accommodate both urban students and students who commute daily from rural communities within a radius of twenty-five miles from the city. This researcher and other educators have observed that rural students attending these schools generally perform less well academically than their urban peers. -- A strong relationship between academic achievement and educational attitudes has been demonstrated by many researchers. It was the purpose of this study to determine whether the attitudes of rural students were significantly different from those of urban students in the same schools and whether any differences were accompanied by similar differences in academic achievement. -- In an attempt to control for factors other than those uniquely rural or urban, this study included socio-economic status, intelligence, sex, academic program and grade as controlled variables. -- Intelligence was measured by the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices and the socio-economic status of students was indicated by their fathers' occupations as categorized by the Blishen Scale. Three instruments were used to measure academic self-concept, attitude toward school, and students' perceptions of how teachers view them. Two individual items on each questionnaire were also selected for analysis. By statistical analysis of the data, no significant difference between the 224 rural students and their matched urban peers on any of the attitudinal variables was detected. Academic achievement was assessed by students' results on teacher-made English and Mathematics tests. Again, no significant difference was detected between the English scores of the rural students and the urban students of the sample. The rural students, however, scored significantly higher in Mathematics (p < .05) than the urban students, a finding in complete contradiction to that which was expected. -- The study does not contradict the observations of this researcher and other educators that rural students generally perform less well academically than their urban peers. In fact, this study shows that as subpopulations in the two urban schools, rural students are disproportionally assigned to low academic programs, representing nearly 50 percent of these programs, while they constitute only 15 to 20 percent of the total student populations. It is also shown that students in the low academic programs generally come from lower socio-economic status families than students in other programs. The results of this study indicate, then, that the factors contributing to lower academic achievement are more socio-economic in nature than the student's place or residence. -- Apparently, rural students, when matched individually with urban students on socio-economic status, intelligence, sex, academic program and grade, possess similar educational attitudes and perform academically as well as their urban peers. However, the whole rural subpopulations in the two schools had not attained as high a level of academic achievement as the total school populations and may have possessed more negative attitudes.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7683
Item ID: 7683
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 96-105.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1977
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Students--Newfoundland and Labrador--Attitudes; Students--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social conditions

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