To replicate this present study sufficient information needs to be provided; Chapter 3 defines its methodological procedures and research design for this purpose. A description of the research design, including the particular strategies, adopted starts off the chapter. The description follows sections addressing data analysis, data trustworthiness, ethical procedures and an exclamation of the data gathering. Limitations and delimitations conclude the chapter.
Exploring the factors influencing the rate of students graduating on time from middle and high school in the inner city of Los Angeles was the general intent of this study. Specifically, a sequential mixed method design was employed by the study to discuss & examine the educational institution and the issues faced by it and also, make recommendations based on the findings of this study. These findings can then be utilized to enhancethe possibility of student success within the district in consideration. This chapter will detail the investigation techniques, ethicalconsideration, procedures for data collection and trustworthiness.
Statement of the Problem
The general target of the study was to explore factors influencing the late graduation of inner cities students of Los Angeles. The students specifically in inner cities of Los Angeles are not able to complete their high school graduation on time; the study seeks to find the reasons behind the late graduation amongst high school students in Los Angeles. The study will help the schools, students, and families in facilitating with the predictors of the late graduation.
1. Why some students do not graduate on time? What are the role of socioeconomic status, school status, and family?
2. How do student failure impact student and the family?
3. What is the impression of school teachers about the accomplishment of students in rural Los Angeles?
4. What are the perspectives of instructors on the advancement of students in rural Los Angeles?
The most important and influential tool in guiding a man towards the advancement and development is research. There will be a very slight development and progress without an organized research. A technical and systematic research guides and directs towards some good development and progress in any stage of life. The increase in relevant research in biotic and organic, physical, psychological and societal fields has discovered new concepts, ways, products and proofs(Creswell, 2013). Nowadays, research is not only carried out in research laboratories or scientific laboratories. Throughout the function of scientific process, the only reason for carrying out the research is to find the solutions to the problems. To find out or to search for any fact which is not exposed or founded so far can only be discovered from research as it is its main purpose. In cooperation with the quantitative and qualitative types, they both have a series of various activities which involves the investigation and scrutiny of information (Hahn, Knopf, Wilson, Truman, Milstein, Johnson & Moss, 2015). The numerical procedures and techniques are used in the quantitative analysis which tends in developmental research. The solutions to the problems are presented by the numerical or arithmetical research or techniques which held an important place in research (Balfanz, R., Byrnes & Fox, 2015).
The mathematical or numerical functions and procedures and info or data are carried out in the Quantitative analysis to examine the characters and properties of it. The groups or collections of info and data that are used measuring levels are ratios, interval, and ordinal and nominal which are most significant factors in selecting the forms of analysis that are appropriate (Creswell, 2013).
Itis a technique of analysis which is used in different types of theoretical subjects, which includes the biological and physical sciences and social sciences; however, it also includes non-academic settings like a business, service demos by the nonprofits and market research (Creswell, 2013).
To discover the factors that are causing students not to graduate on time from middle or high school in the inner city of Los Angeles was the primary purpose of this research. For this purpose, to be addressed, a research approach known as mixed-methods sequential-explanatory research was employed. The study was particularly suited for the mixed method approach because the weaknesses found in quantitative or qualitative studies were addressed by it.
A mixed methods design was required for the nature of research questions. Research questions 1 and two as an example, sought the perspective of individuals which required an in-depth qualitative approach while questions 3 and 4, and interrogated the relationship between variables, therefore requiring a quantitative approach. Thus, qualitative or quantitative approaches shall not be taken solely to answer the questions of this research.
The design had two phases. The first phase involved the researcher taking a quantitative approach to examine relationships among variables (ethnicity, family status, gender, grade retention and mobility). To determine the relationship to graduation status among a cohort of students of inner city Los Angeles these variables were examined.
Data for students who enrolled in the school during the fall of 2012 and graduated in 2016 was provided by districtcumulative records. The traditional quantitative strategies that were implemented throughout the research provided a thorough understanding of the study. However, the quantitative strategies were not able to provide a holistic view which could have been obtained through the use of quantitative analysis. Hence, both principals and teachers gave in total 57 responses during phase 2.
Population and Sample Selection
Participants for Phase I:
From the inner city of Los Angeles, there are nine middle schools that presented the information for this study. This sample of study for phase I comprises of a unit of those students who are at high school stage in the inner city of Los Angeles school district. The unit of high school students was from 2012 sessions of school. In 2016, a total number of 391 students was expected to be graduated.
The school district and student population, they were selected for 2motives. Firstly, students started to take a long time before exiting this scheme or system and those high school students formally dropped-out of the high and middle schools as it is stated by researchers.A greater part of students who drop out of the schools concentrates on a minor, and lower grades and ranks and this problem started years ago as it is emphasized on educational spaces from elementary to the 8th grade.
The experts discussed on how to reduce and prevent the problem of the lower number of graduates in the upcoming years of high school. Furthermore, these authorities also argue about the failure in academics which starts from the primary years, and that’s why there are many students who fail to graduate every year. The bad grades and lower self-confidence are a result of poor attendance that initially begins from elementary school which leads a student to have a bad progress. Due to the lack of knowledge a student’s behavior is not beneficial or helpful to lead them to success and academic achievements (Krueger, Tran, Hummer & Chang, 2015). This research was started by examining the student info from the aggregate of student accounts and records. The investigator noted the registrations of students, primary admission in the school district and educational results like dropouts, lower number of graduates, graduates, those who moved, homeschooled and those who are still enrolled. They also noted each student’s background, family status, and gender and grade retention. Moreover, the school district of Los Angeles was used for this research because it has the highest rates of lower graduates in the state.
Phase II Participants and Design Overview
From the questions 3 and 4, it was directed by the research that the members were graded and arranged in a sample of teachers and principals which was based on the inner city of Los Angeles school district. Though, an unplanned process was used to choose individuals from this graded sample, as it is recorded that this sample was not planned to be a demonstrative sample. The intention was to give a considerable and important opinion to the quantitative info or data. This sample of administrators, teachers, and principals are cohorts and units from phase 1 who remained in the lives of the students. The sample of students who were quizzed was from the elementary or nursery groups in phase I and only graduates and late-graduates were included. Those students who were omitted from the sample were the ones who drew back for other reasons.
The sample of administrators and teachers comprised of 25 educationalists and a sample chosen from a total of 290 teachers and 22 K-12 administrators in 63 districts of Los Angeles. A random sample was used to get a demonstrative sample of both teachers and administrators. Additionally, 150 students who were late-graduates and graduates from the kindergarten unit group were offered by the district to the investigator; the number of names which were used in the study was 150.
The school officials at the board office gave names to the researcher were of all the teachers and administrators. It was important to take account of all the teachers and administrators who were representing all the schools in the district were to decrease and avoid the discrimination in the research. The names of the administrators were categorized separately in one group, and the names of the qualified teachers were placed in 12 different groups.
Each group represented a school presently in the district with two schools that were closed however they were present before the union. The names from the main list were certified, and the groups were labeled and tagged to guarantee that the teachers who were appointed to those schools were in the correct group. The random sample of teachers comprised of only qualified teachers,
The head sample comprised of counselors, instructional coaches, principals and district supervisors in the school district. Until an initial group of teachers was created, one teacher was aimlessly nominated from each group. When 12 teachers were separately representing one teacher from each school in the district were nominated, the remaining teachers from all rankings were assigned in one group, and extra three names were represented for an overall of 15 teachers. A random sample of heads was selected from the group which was marked as leaders which involved principals, instructional coaches, and district supervisors. Ten names were selected from the group. The total number of 25 teachers and leaders were assigned for the research. Teachers and leaders were communicated through e-mails and phone to plan a suitable time for the interviews.
There were 64 students who were selected from the kindergarten unit. The names and contact numbers of 150 students were provided by the district in the quantitative stage. The cohort students were then contacted by the interviewer whose names, contact numbers and original elementary school; everything was attained from the board of education. The sample only represented those students who had graduated and who are late graduates.
The questions were planned for the investigator to get the view about the teachers and leaders in the district area of the success of students. Questions about the constituents of the school were discussed by questioning the leaders about school climate, grade retention practices, strategies for preventing late graduation and school equity. The environment of the family was also discussed in the feedback form by questioning teachers and their opinion of how families view the concept of late graduation, homeschooling and the role of the family. The aspects of the community were also focused with queries that what the community thinks about the matter of late graduates.
Lastly, the section of the individual student was spoken with questions that concentrated on how students succeed, what students think about the late graduates. To understand the late graduation info better, it was important to address late graduates. Questions were created based on the four foundations achievement and model that gave the student graduates opinion too. The questions which involved the foundation of the school were focused via questions about the school’s role in the success of students and what educationalists in the district could do to guarantee the success of students.
The examination of the records of a cohort of students during the first phase of the research was done. The University approved an IRB proposal, and the project was approved by the local school board. Meetings with the district principals, instructional supervisor, superintendent, and seven other community officials of the district were held to debate the relationship & the project to the objectives and goals of the district.
Names of the students enrolled in the classes of kindergarten in the school year of 2015 were requested by the researcher. Cumulative records of students were attained from the central office of the school district enrollment. School officials were contacted by the researcher to set up a reasonable time to go over and review the enrollment records of the students once all the permissions were granted.
A system of coding was set up for all the different variables to be recognized or documented before the researcher’s initial visit to review the records (e.g., female = 0 and male = 1). The main focus in developing the design was the four variables which attributed to student success (community, schools, students, & family). One of the first elements to be incorporated into the research was the school element of the theoretical framework. A code was assigned that consisted of a three-digit code, plus three numbers representing the student and the elementary school in which children were enrolled instead of using student names to ensure confidentiality of the students in the study, (i.e., 332002 the last three digits represented the student ID, and 002 would be the elementary school number).
Data regarding father/mother/another status, ethnicity, educational outcomes, gender, and some grade retentions (e.g., homeschooled, moved, still enrolled, passed away, and graduate, dropout, etc.) were recorded in PASW (SPSS 18) on campus, through every appointment. The element of family (e.g., under the care of mother only, father only or other guardian), school factors such as (e.g., withdrawal status and number of grade retentions), and the individual student (e.g., gender, mobility, student, race) were all looked into for the research and obtaining the best results from it. This study consisted of two dependent variables which were late graduation and on time graduation although documentation of other delays of graduation statuses was also done. It was not only important to document the late graduation and on time graduation ranks but also, the other conditions of late graduation of students in the district area needed to be covered for an ample result to the research (Morrow &Villodas, 2017).
The researcher made several attempts to discover information on missing enrollment, once all the data was collected. The school district pupil personnel office assisted the investigator, and with their aid, many enrollment cards were found, but not all of the student information was attained. District staffs not returning registration cards to the correct location on time or not being filed correctly were some of the reasons due to which all the data was not attained.
Similarly, community element was a keen concern where students were asked regarding those difficulties that they usually face, along with community role that played a significant role to achieve high success and by the community how the basic dropping out concept is observed. Moreover, the individual element also focused regarding the student by getting them to force for driving graduate and about their success what they give confirmation.
Hence, the research questionnaire is also formulated for the students that were left fall that was same to the formulation of a graduate student. Similarly, the nature of questions was sensitive that the concerning students not gain the success within the high school, for participating in the research, the chances of similarity are increased. There were five different questions formulated based on the elements. The element of the school helped in collecting knowledge regarding retention of the grade and what could be done for students from falling out and gives them prevention. The individual and the community element of the student is focusing towards the reason about why students fall out within the country and community views of fall out of the students. The element family was also asked from the student as for how the perception of family is taken as the critical matter regarding fall out students (See the Appendix D for student fall out a questionnaire).
For the research, all the concerning interviews taken from leaders, students dropout, student graduates and teachers were properly recorded and coded. In mix combination of numbers and letters, interviews were carefully given codes which help the researcher in responses tracking (such as certified teacher interviewee = CTI, administrator interviewee = ADMI, student dropout = SDI, and student graduate = SGI). In a systematic format, every question was analyzed in grouped responses format in which proper themes was presented for the asked question. For consisting accuracy perspective inner-cities high school district of Los Angeles students and educators are significant for research study validation perspective.
There were four different elements presented for qualitative research purpose. However, for the qualitative research, there is credibility, confirmability, dependability, and transferability presented according to researchers(Archambault, Janosz, Dupéré, Brault and Andrew, 2017). Similarly, the research process is elaborated as a transparent and conformable perspective to the researcher. In this aspect, the research will be done in a clear manner. Moreover, the concerning data will be gathered and discussed in the coded system along with giving a copy of the system.
Likewise, the research study is based on employing credibility in which different methods of research have been formulated for the study in which the research is done to identify the weaknesses in the study in a systematic format. For developing in depth understanding, the researcher used different ways. For validating the research in cross verification way, the researcher used triangulation that supports in recording the student data, background context, and different aspects. As a part of the research study, the finding shows that the research is credible, believable, and trustworthy. The researcher used transferability with the concern of background aspect to validating the research. Similarly, it is important to increase transferability in the research which helps the researcher in making different assumptions and elaborating things in a careful way. According to the researcher, there is different transferability obligation presented in the study in natural aspect (Dallavis, 2011). By an inquiry audit, the dependability was determined. For the current study, the researcher belongs to a native country and age of 24 years. He is a former student. Moreover, the researcher was not educator in the inner-cities high school district, but she feels that there are biases of almost 69 possibilities presented. However, the interviews findings were properly summed up. Afterwards, the consisting findings and its interpretations were reviewed, and feedback was received
Data Collection and Management
For all the groups, a format of the interview was chosen because of getting maximum information to be collected from respondent’s experiences. Therefore, the approach that was used named general interview format. For exploratory research, the semi-structured interview permits from 66 analytical essential questions. According to the research interview approach is used for development of the consisting questions. However, questions were made in open-ended shape. Within this approach, interviewers suggested from their self that “Just what about this thing is puzzling me?”
For the research, face to face interviews was conducted as per setting is done in natural perspective in the time of teacher’s planning or after passing hours of school so that no barrier occur for the respective administrators and teachers. For the leaders, their interviews were taken in their offices at school or in that classroom that was empty. For every interview, proper permission was taken before initiating any interview by the interviewer. For every person, the same method was used, and same questions were asked at the time of interview. If any of the respondents are not available, so the researcher reschedules the meeting as per their convenient date as he were sensitive as well as flexible in nature. Hence, the respondent had the opportunity to give additional comments after completion of the interview if things are not covered during the questions of the interview.
A total of 150 student’s names given by the board to the researcher in the time of 1997-1998 within the group of the cohort. These were belonging to the high school that shows schools of elementary for the research. Within the two different results, lists were made in which fall out and graduates phone numbers along with their names presented. However, fall out students were 45 and graduates were 105. For an interview, these graduates were called. If any of the respondent not interested for an interview, if the concerning student was not at home, or if the number was disconnected, all the things were carefully documented. On different days, these students were called out if earlier they were not presented at home. Till the time all the students were contacted via phone until any response is received. In the similar aspect, the fallout list of students was also proceeding. Within the interview, a total of seventeen graduates agreed and responded. However, from 67 a total of 45 respondents participated those were a dropout. Same question in same order, every interview was done from each student. Total time was 15 minutes view telephonic interviews. Thus, the researcher took prior permission for interview recording purpose before initiating any question.
Data Analysis Procedures
Various, crosstabs, statistical tests on the kindergarten cohort and descriptive statistics were attempted by the researcher, after entering all the data, with the help of the most recent installment of PASW (SPSS 18). Each elementary school was examined by the researcher by gender, grade retention, ethnicity, late graduation status and family situation through crosstabs.
The district’s entire student kindergarten population was brought under examination to understand the bigger picture concerned with the late graduation status of students. Students may have passed away, moved out of the school district, graduated on time, graduated late or transferred to the home school. What variables are statistically and correlated relevant with students graduating in the inner-city school district of Los Angeles? Similarly, what variables are statistically & correlatedly significant with students graduating late? The code of late graduates initially consisted of the following variables, the graduate, and late graduate but the variables needed to be re-coded. Then for the late graduate code, a dummy variable was put into place, and similarly for the graduate code a separate variable was put into place (i.e., late graduate = 0 and graduate = 1). All of the data was run through the Chi Square test for independence. To examine differences in categorical variables this statistical test is most commonly used. When frequency data has been collected to determine how well a normal distribution fits an observed frequency distribution a nonparametric inferential test is used, this test is known as the Chi Square test for independence. The two categorical variables are analyzed, and implications are made about the existence of a relation between them by the test.
To determine the dependent factors of graduation and late graduation and if the two variables are related in any way (e.g., family status, mobility, gender, ethnicity & grade retention) the researcher will use the statistic used in the Chi Square test to his aid. The factors influencing graduation and late graduate rates will have no significant differences between them in the inner-city school district of Los Angeles, as stated by the null hypothesis. Contrarily, the factors influencing graduation and slow graduation rates will have a significant difference between them in the inner-city school district of Los Angeles, as stated by the alternative hypothesis and this assumption is supported by the researcher. The .05 level of significance is the alpha level set for this study.
To understand the quantitative findings better a deeper investigation was needed, even though a wealth of information was provided by the results of the quantitative findings. Valuable insight was discovered when the focus was shifted to the four variables which constitute to student success concerning late graduation status, grade retention, mobility, gender, family status and race, but additional questions are also raised by the results which can be answered only through qualitative research. As an example, why did one school have more late graduations occur than another school in its area? Another example can be retention of grades almost always resulted in a student inevitably graduating late, why? By looking through the lens of the four elements which attribute to the success of a student, building on the theory of achievement and based on the findings of this study, researchers discovered more open-ended questions which better informed them while the perceptions of school leaders, graduates, late graduates, and teachers were also attempted to be highlighted.
Studies involving human subjects are supposed to be completed under the federal and institutional ethical guidelines. This is ascertained by the Institutional Review Board (or IRB). Even though this study may be exempted from the review by the IRB on the basis of the fact that it is within the acceptable educational settings and normal educational practices are in place, it still falls under the domain that needs the Internal Research Review Board (i.e., IRRB) consent (Isik-Ercan, 2010; Thornberg, 2014; Worrell, 2014). The researcher will ensure that only anonymous and no-risk surveys and observations will be done. In case any identifying information is needed, this will be confidential and will not be included in the final report (Bosworth et al., 2011).
The researcher will ensure that they follow the ethical standards established by the American Psychological Association. They are six in total, and they include competence, integrity, scientific and professional responsibility, respect for the dignity and the rights of the participants, concern for their welfare, as well as having a social responsibility. About competence, the researcher will attempt only the work that they are competent to undertake. On integrity, they will be honest and fair regarding their professional cooperation with others. There will be scientific and professional responsibility, and this is where high-standards of professional behavior will be maintained. Respecting the dignity and rights of others involve the right to confidentiality. The concern for others will involve coming up with the work that facilitates the bridging of the gaps in research, and this is closely related to social responsibility where the researcher will meet this code by using their skills to the benefit of the society (Meral& Turnbull, 2014).
Limitations and Delimitations
The research understood that the required data for the study was accessible at the district level office and the inner-cities high schools and that the student records were simply obtainable for data collection and review. This study investigated only one inner-city Los Angeles school district. Though several reasons can add to the late graduation of high school students, this research investigated the exact variables inside the parameters of the four components of the model for student success. It can be argued that the strength of the current research undertaken is similar to its limitations.
This chapter of research methodology includes the participants of the research, techniques of investigation, the techniques utilized for data collection, ethical considerations, and limitations. The study used research approach of a mixed methods methodology to the research problem. The sample of participants included in phase I of this research include of a cohort of high school students in inner-cities of Los Angeles. The research was conducted through examining the factors of late graduation by conducting an interview of a random sample of teachers and students in the inner-cities of Los Angeles. Also, the families of such students were also interviewed. The next chapter will present the findings of this research.
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