PowerPoint: Final research presentation, November 2011

Report
Understanding Student
Disaffection through the Lens of
Alternative Education
FINAL REPORT – DECEMBER 6, 2011
THE LINCY INSTITUTE FELLOWSHIP
RESEARCH AWARD
GWEN C. MARCHAND
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH,
COGNITION, AND DEVELOPMENT
Project Introduction
What is this project all about?
 Partnership between Student Support Services
Division (SSSD) in Clark County School District
(CCSD) who administer to alternative schools and
UNLV
 Grew from desire to know:


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More about the demographics and academic history of
alternative school population being served by SSSD
Student perspectives of educational experience leading to
alternative school placement
How to better identify needs and target current and early
intervention services
Alternative Education in Clark County
 Alternative Education in Clark County
 Behavior Schools – 9 weeks
 Continuation Schools – 18 weeks
 Also called consequence schools
 Alternative schools served 5,690 students in 2009-
2010


30% received multiple referrals
18% had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
Need for Project
 Alternative school may be last stop before dropping out
entirely

Some alternative schools have dropout rates exceeding 50%
(www.nevadareportcard.com)
 Why focus on special education students in alternative
education?




Students in alternative education are predominately male, minority, and
a substantial percentage are eligible for special education services.
Students of color are overrepresented in special education (Shealey &
Lue, 2006 & Ferri, & Connor, 2005)
Many students placed in special education also face other challenges,
such as few economic resources (Shealey & Lue, 2006)
Taken together, special education students may have increased risk for
academic disaffection leading to alternative education.
Relevant Literature
 Alternative education
 Deficit-thinking paradigm dominates limited literature on
alternative education


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Suggests individual factors, rather than systemic factors, are
responsible for student failures and disaffection
Alternative settings may offer caring environment but lack
academic rigor (Kim & Taylor, 2008)
Limited research on student trajectories to alternative
education and student educational experiences in alternative
education
Relevant Literature
 Student disaffection
 Disaffection is characterized by active withdrawal from
academic activities and is reflective of maladaptive
motivational states (Skinner, Furrer, Marchand, & Kindermann, 2008)


Negative emotions, disruptive or unproductive behavior, reduced cognitive
engagement
Transactions between the individual and the educational
system may contribute to disaffection

Dearth of information about systemic factors, such as provision of
services, teacher quality, transition plans, curriculum continuity,
school culture, etc. that may contribute to disaffected behaviors
leading to alternative enrollment
Relevant Literature
 School transitions
 Transitions may be a period of vulnerability for academically
at-risk students
 Scheduled transitions


Students may be unprepared for increased demands of middle and
high school and may lack appropriate structure to help them
succeed
Unscheduled transitions

Frequent mobility associated with achievement loss (Alspaugh,
1998; Engec, 2006) and high school completion (Rumberger, &
Larson 1998)
Project Goals
 Research


Use existing data sources to identify patterns of academic life leading
to enrollment and recidivism in alternative education for students
receiving special education services.
Conduct a series of interviews to understand student experiences in
general and alternative education, particularly during transition
periods.
 Partnership


Develop partnership with the Clark County School District (CCSD)
Student Support Services Division (SSSD) staff responsible for
serving alternative education schools.
Support SSSD in developing capacity for understanding and using
data to…
better target existing services
 establish evidence and guidance for early intervention programs

Research Activities
Design
Mixed Methods Sequential Explanatory Design
(Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007)
Quantitative
Qualitative
Cohort-Sequential
Longitudinal Design
Investigate Student
Experiences
Secondary Data
In-depth Student
Interviews
Quantitative Methods
 Secondary data sources:
 Count day file 2009-10 = demographics
 Enrollment history
 Annual discipline counts
 Annual attendance
 State standardized testing data (CRT; Grades 3, 5, 8)
Academic Year
Data Source
06-07
07-08
08-09
09-10
Annual
Attendance
X
X
X
X
Annual
Discipline
Counts
X
X
X
X
CRT
(3, 5, 8)
03-04
X
04-05
X
05-06
X
X
X
Quantitative Methods
Participants – all 8-12th grade students designated as having a learning disability or
other health impairment (ADHD) enrolled and showing evidence of attendance as
of 2009 count day (September 2009) AND having available enrollment history data
Quantitative Descriptive Findings
 Frequency of alternative enrollment
 665 students (61.7%) = 1 enrollment
 217 students (20.1%) = 2 enrollments
 196 students (18.2%) = 3 or more enrollments
 Within-year mobility during elementary school


Alternative group: Average of 1.17 transitions (SD = 1.53)
Non-alternative group: Average of .63 transitions (SD = 1.16)
Academic Performance
 Academic performance history
80
70
Percentage
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Alternative Emergent
Non-Alternative Emergent
Alternative Approaches
Non-Alternative Approaches
Gr3
Reading
49.2
52.4
47.7
43.4
Gr5
Reading
64.2
56.6
33.6
39
Gr8
Reading
49.6
31.4
46.8
59.2
Gr3 Math
Gr5 Math
Gr8 Math
56.9
50.2
38.4
42.4
44.3
37.9
48.6
53.3
71
59.5
25
32.3
Attendance
 Average annual absences from 2006-07 thru 2009-10
Excused
Absences
Unexcused
Absences
Days
Enrolled
n
Mean (SD)
Mean (SD)
Mean (SD)
Grade 8 Alt
114
14.44 (8.23)
7.95 (6.89)
170.72 (8.84)
Grade 8 Non-alt
1403
6.08 (5.29)
4.52 (5.10)
173.92 (9.75)
Grade 9 Alt
230
15.74 (9.26)
11.53 (9.53)
169.69 (15.89)
Grade 9 Non-alt
1560
6.82 (6.40)
6.07 (7.89)
174.51 (13.03)
Grade 10 Alt
331
17.69 (12.12)
11.76 (9.87)
170.51 (15.97)
Grade 10 Non-alt
1664
7.06 (6.41)
6.76 (7.74)
174.62 (12.43)
Grade 11 Alt
219
16.69 (11.01)
9.64 (7.34)
170.12 (16.22)
Grade 11 Non-alt
1240
7.12 (6.70)
5.86 (6.82)
174.20 (13.32)
Grade 12 Alt
171
15.21 (10.22)
8.44 (8.01)
170.72 (17.52)
Grade 12 Non-alt
1040
7.26 (7.01)
4.90 (5.62)
175.23 (12.89)
Discipline
 9th Grade Student Discipline Data for Grades 6, 7, and 9
3.0000
Average Number of Referrals
2.5000
2.0000
1.5000
Alternative
1.0000
.5000
.0000
Non-Alternative
Discipline
 10th Grade Student Discipline Data for Grades 7, 8, and 10.
3.0000
Average Number of Referrals
2.5000
2.0000
1.5000
Alternative
Non-Alternative
1.0000
.5000
.0000
Quantitative Summary and Next Steps
 Consistent pattern of negative adjustment indicators
for students who eventually enroll in alternative
programs

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At what grade do these indicators begin to diverge?
Are there threshold points of increased vulnerability?
What role does elementary mobility play as a risk factor?
 Middle school may be a time of increasing disparity
 Receipt of additional data and more in-depth
analyses of existing data to investigate



Student trajectories
Statistical differences and effect sizes between groups
Predictors of risk
Qualitative Methods
 Purposeful sampling with following criteria:
 Students with learning disabilities
 Students enrolled in behavior or continuation school for initial
interview
 Students recidivated into alternative education
 11 student participants enrolled in one of 4
alternative schools (2 behavior; 2 continuation)

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10 males
2 8th graders; 2 9th graders; 3 10th graders; 1 11th grader; 3 12th
graders
Qualitative Methods
 Interview protocol loosely based on Seidman’s (2006) life history
approach

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In-depth interviews
Open ended and conversational style
Questions based on general topic areas
 2 interviews of each child
 Interview 1: during alternative school enrollment
 Interview 2: following transition back to comprehensive campus
 Interview last between 20 minutes and over an hour
 Interview one
 Focus on student experiences since first enrollment in CCSD
 General motivation and engagement; support systems; school behavior;
experiences during transitions
 Interview two
 Student reflections and meaning-making of recent experience of alternative and
general ed settings and transition between the two
Qualitative Findings
 5 general themes/domains emerged from analysis of
coded data
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Personal attributes
Perceptions of social relationships
Problem solving activities
Processing of school environment
Processing of school events
Personal Attributes
 Student behavioral proclivities, beliefs, perceptions
of reasons for engaging or disengaging in school,
emotional orientations toward school

Emerged from discussions of factors that facilitated or
inhibited school adjustment and behavior issues
 Interest and activities and peers commonly
discussed as reason for coming to school and stay out
of trouble
Personal Attributes
 Student negative emotional orientations, such as
anger or boredom, common source of problems
I: You said that you threw scissors at a teacher, what made you do that?
S: Like my anger and stuff like that. Like when I get angry I use to get angry
and there was no stopping me. Like anything you told me not to do, I would do.
 Beliefs about self and behavior leads to conflicts in
academic situations
I: How would you describe yourself as a student?
S: …I’m a good student, but it’s just I’m just here because like I feel like
whenever somebody disrespect me I gotta disrespect them back…
Social Relationships
 Specific discussions related to interactions with
social partners, such as teachers or peers

Emerged from discussion of facilitative and inhibitive factors
 Peers both source of school engagement as well as
source of problems

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Students insightful as to role of peers in behavioral influence
Example from student describing experience during new
school transition
I: Do you think that the curriculum was easier? Was there
anything that you could attribute to your better performance?
S: It was easier but then I ain’t have no friends there so I was just
like going to class on time doing my work.
Social Relationships
 School staff interactions featured heavily in discussions
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Some students felt alternative teachers were more attentive but
others did not; non-classroom teachers often mentioned as supports:
coaches, counselors, sped
Example of when interactions with teacher influenced behavior
When I ask for help, they ignore me; but when I raise my hand, like,
they’re <like> “put your hand down, I’m not answering no questions
right now.” Like, when teachers they’ll get mad like before they get to
school and like, they take it out on the students....or they like come over
there like "what you want" or something like that. Like, when they get
all in my face like "what you want," I won't even ask 'em for nothing
anymore. I won't ask them a question for like a week.
How Students Approach Problems
 Students discussed how they dealt with challenging
situations, such as transitioning to new school or
with academic challenges
 Strategies and awareness of resources

Differences in student willingness to use problem solving
strategies in classroom and knowledge of strategies


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General low level of how to access help or even when help needed
Extreme end – student comes to school for social reasons, gets
by through copying from smart people, does not participate
and avoids situations to expose her to failure
Other students more positive and mention going to teachers,
special ed facilitators, classmates for hellp
Environment Processing
 Theme emerged from discussions about how
students understand specific school settings, such as
alternative schools

Focused heavily in transition discussions
 Apprehension toward alternative school based on
past experience common theme

Fear of getting further behind due to curricular differences or
environmental challenges
S: These kids…<they interfere with the education the student is
trying to get>…’cuz they always disrupting the teacher or
something, yelling or something, doin’ some stupid thing…and then
like the teacher get disrupted and she gonna deal with them and
that’s takin us out of hour.
Environment Processing
 Change in environment and school culture often
helpful in forming new relationships or academic
adjustment
S: …they some fun teachers because they like to do activities and
stuff in the class…and they teach a lot too.
I: …and was it easy for you to get to know teachers <at the new
school>?
S: Yes.
I: Okay good. What made them easier to approach? What was it
about their demeanor?
S: Cuz like the other school I was going to, <old school>, it’s like a
ghetto school…and <the new school> is like a corny school…like
lame. (student continued to divulge how the teachers kept the
students on track at this “corny” school and that helped him)
Event Processing
 Students reflected on important life events that influenced school
experience and illustrated student behavioral and psychological
adaptation
 Change in belief about school importance stemming from scheduled
school transitions
S (02): It’s high-school, like it counts…all your credits and stuff like you’re not just
doing all your work for nothing. Like middle school and elementary, it’s like you’re
doing work for nothing..So that’s why I think like most people don’t really try.
S (S03): …So when I finally did start asking for the help and getting what I needed, it
kinda made it easier to transition into high school, ya know, to understand that now
you have to have not this kid set of mind, but more of a mature, teenage-adult mind;
you have to set your standards higher; you have to put the bar up there; “you have to
think about the next step before you just do it this time,” (chuckles) ya know, ‘cuz now
you’re thinking “there’s a consequence for everything soooo now that I know that
(chuckles,) I may want to think about this before I do it;”
Event Processing
 Student responses to life events, such as parental divorce
or within-year mobility, was that this is “just the way
things are” and seemed to become the status quo for
many students
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Revised expectations for school and behavior downward
Not a big deal if not having a positive experience or doing well,
because that is not the expectation for self
 Students form beliefs about why others respond to them
in certain ways after attending alternative school

Students discussing experiences with teachers at gen ed campus
S: They don’t talk as much to you as other people because I think they
like know that I’m a fighter and stuff, yeah.
Qualitative Summary
 School supports and student personal resources and
perceptions interact to influence student adjustment
in school
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Students may not have sufficient knowledge of problem
solving strategies to succeed and may not view the system as
open for assistance
This is one avenue for possible intervention
 School staff and peers are key partners in facilitating
or inhibiting adjustment
 History of negative or null experiences contribute to
downward revision of expectations of self and others
Qualitative Next Steps
 Things to consider
 Curricular coherence
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School climate
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More overlap
Distinctions/similarities between school types
Transitions
Supports for effective within-year transitions
 Different structural transitions may have different meanings
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Where have students remained engaged? Where have they
withdrawn?
Qualitative Next Steps
 Continue to collect data for initial and follow-up
interviews
 Refine coding scheme and search for new themes
 Develop narratives:
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For common and disparate history of experience
For common and disparate meaning-making over alterative to
general ed transition
For individual stories spanning both events
Research Summary
 Preliminary results from mixed-methods study are
intriguing and ripe for follow-up

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Both quantitative and qualitative components indicate that
early school experience influences subsequent student
behavior leading to alternative school placement
Middle school may be a time of increased vulnerability due to
lack of supports, decreased monitoring, low academic
competence
Student mobility may be important indicator for early
intervention services
Partnership Activities
Completed Activities
 Ongoing meetings to share findings and discuss ways to use
data
 Work together to devise materials for collection of behavior
plan data to improve service provision
 SSSD perceptions of partnership:
“As part of a proactive process the Student Support Services Division will be
able to work with students to identify patterns that will potentially lead to
future behavior difficulties and eventually to student disaffection if they are not
addressed…. The benefits of having this information are unlimited for how to
prevent students from eventually being referred to a consequence school. School
decision making teams will have less of a disconnection when determining
supports for students. Currently when students are sent to a consequence
school, the referring school has very little understanding of how this impacts the
student educationally and emotionally. The information gained from this
project will be beneficial for future training to make teachers at all levels aware
of how the decisions that are made for students at all levels can impact their
future educational success.”
Ongoing Activities
 Developing training partnership to assist behavior
mentors at schools in consistently collecting and
using data about information in behavior plans
 No-cost evaluation of new program provided by
SSSD to alternative schools
 Continued development of research activities to
provide SSSD with useful and relevant data to guide
decision making and determine effectiveness of
services
Conclusions
Moving Forward
 Project will continue past Lincy Award thanks
support from
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Shulman Family Foundation
The APA Division 15 Early Career Award
A great CCSD partner
 Preliminary results from the interview portion of the
project already committed to publication in book
chapter in 2012.
Acknowledgements
 Lincy Institute staff
 Joanne Vattiato, Stephanie Simmons, Katja Hermes,
Kamille Bryner at SSSD
 Participating schools and students
 Tireless UNLV student assistants: Kayana Sanders,
Christie Higgins, Kyle Kaalberg
 COE and Department of Educational Research,
Cognition, and Development
Questions????

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