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Seniors' reflections concerning respect for their high school experiences

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Title:
Seniors' reflections concerning respect for their high school experiences a general perspective
Creator:
Morrison, Leland K
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xvii, 243 leaves : ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
High school seniors -- Attitudes ( lcsh )
Respect for persons ( lcsh )
Motivation in education ( lcsh )
School environment ( lcsh )
High school seniors -- Attitudes ( fast )
Motivation in education ( fast )
Respect for persons ( fast )
School environment ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 236-243).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Leland K. Morrison.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
44076427 ( OCLC )
ocm44076427
Classification:
LD1190.E3 1999d .M67 ( lcc )

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Full Text
SENIORS' REFLECTIONS CONCERNING RESPECT FOR THEIR HIGH
SCHOOL EXPERIENCES: A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE
by
Leland K. Morrison
B.S., Evangel College, 1972
M.A. University of Colorado at Denver, 1981
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
1999


1999 by Leland K. Morrison.
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Leland K. Morrison
has been approved
by
CM.
dJt&XLs
Sharon Ford



Laura Goodwin
Je/mifeir Goble
^1s\Ai^Ua //* /H9
tDate J


Morrison, Leland K. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and
Innovation)
Seniors' Reflections Concerning Respect for Their High
School Experiences: A General Perspective
Thesis directed by Sharon Ford, Ed.D.
ABSTRACT
This study focused on the respect attributed by
high school seniors to their high school experiences.
The study considered the relationship between respect
and school site, achievement level, ethnicity, and
gender. Two urban and three suburban high schools
participated in the study. Student populations ranged
from 1000 to 2300 students, with site selection assuring
diverse ethnic representation.
The research approach included quantitative as well
as qualitative methodology, with qualitative methods
being the primary approach. Twelve seniors from each
high school were interviewed. Equal representation of
gender and class rank were assured at each school.
Findings from this study showed students' respect
for school being strongly related to teacher
characteristics. The more students perceived teachers
as caring, helpful, flexible, and instructionally
strong, the greater was their respect for teachers and
overall school experiences. The factor students least
respected was inappropriate behaviors by fellow
students. Components of school experiences to which
students indicated levels of respect in this study were
(from most respect to least respect awarded by
students) : quality of teachers, extracurricular


activities, graduation credits needed, relevancy of
school to future ambitions, availability of classes,
academic challenge of classes, courses required to
graduate, perception of degree to which school addresses
individual student needs and rules and procedures. The
high mean for these components, on a Likert-type scale
from 1-10, was 7.79 for quality of teachers, and the low
mean was 6.01 for rules and procedures. Students also
indicated a strong relationship (M = 6.85) between
family values and respect students held toward school
and a lesser relationship (M = 5.42) between subculture
influences and respect for school. The overall respect
that students awarded their school experiences (M =
6.86) was very strongly related to the respect they felt
was awarded to them by their school (M = 6.81) The
suggestions most frequently made by seniors for the
improvement of schools were (a) increased faculty
involvement in the school and with students, (b)
increased involvement of all students in school
activities, and (c) fair and consistent enforcement of
school rules.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.
Sharon Ford


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis first to the high school
students with whom I have worked in the past 27 years,
and who have shared their thoughts with me as I served in
different roles as their teacher, coach, activities
director, and principal.
I also thank the students from the five high schools
who shared their thoughts with me to make this thesis
possible. May all educators take the time to listen
closely to their clients, the students.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I wish to thank my wife, Teri, and. my children,
Monica, Robert, Matthew, Austin, and Katharine for their
loyal support of this lengthy endeavor.
I also want to thank my advisor, Sharon Ford, who for
8 years continually challenged me to persevere in my
pursuit of this degree, and for her avid interest in
research dealing with student voice.
I wish to sincerely thank the rest of my dissertation
committee for their interest and knowledge base: Rodney
Muth, theory and framework; Alan Davis, qualitative
research; Laura Goodwin, quantitative research; and
Jennifer Goble, field practitioner.
X wish to thank Monica Buettel, my oldest daughter,
for being my graduate research assistant and early editor
on this project. Your two years of work are greatly
appreciated. I wish to thank Wendy Billingsley for her
final editing of this dissertation.
I wish to thank the Jefferson Academy Board of
Directors for their release time in support of my
doctoral efforts.
Finally, I wish to thank my dad and mom, Newton and
Blanche Morrison, who never had an opportunity to attend
high school, but who sold an entire calf crop so I could
attend my first year of college and pursue my love of
education.


CONTENTS
Tables.........................................xiii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..................................... 1
Purpose of the Study.................... 7
Significance of the Study .............. 9
Definition of Terms.................... 14
Methodology Overview................... 15
Structure of the Dissertation.......... 18
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Introduction .......................... 21
Social Theory Approaches Regarding
Adolescent Perspectives ............... 23
Student Respect ....................... 25
General Research on
Student Perspectives .................. 27
Qualitative Approaches to Examining
Student Perspectives .................. 29
Quantitative Approaches to Examining
Student Perspectives .................. 34


Student Perspectives on Specific
Components of High School Experiences . 37
Curriculum........................ 37
Quality of Instruction.............40
Extracurricular Activities ....... 42
Rules and Procedures.............. 45
Membership in Social Groups ...... 47
Improvement of High School
Experience........................ 48
Influences on Student Perspectives of
High School Experiences ................ 50
Family............................ 51
Peers............................. 53
Ethnicity/Race.................... 55
Social Class/Socio-economic Status 57
Past Academic Success/Failure..... 59
Dating, Jobs, etc................. 60
Summary................................. 61
3 METHODOLOGY
Introduction............................ 65
Site Selection.......................... 67
Sample Population ...................... 68
IX


i
4. RESULTS
Interview Process....................... 69
Assurances and Confidentiality...........71
Questionnaire Rationale ................ 72
Data Analysis Methods................... 82
Limitations of the Study................ 84
Summary................................. 86
Introduction to Results ................ 88
Brief Description of Each School Site . 90
Student Responses Concerning What
They Respect............................ 95
Student Responses Concerning What They
Do Not Respect......................... 101
Students Rank School Components
They Respect........................... 109
Overall Respect for School Experience 113
Respect for Quality of Teachers.........118
Respect for Classes Required
to Graduate.............................124
Respect for Required
Graduation Credits .................... 129
Respect for Extracurricular Activities 133
Respect for Rules and Procedures ...... 137
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I
!
i
!
Respect for Relevancy of School to
Future Ambitions ..................... 144
Respect for Availability of Classes . 148
Respect for Academic Challenge of
Classes................................ 152
Respect for How Well the School
Addressed Individual Needs ............ 156
Respect for the Student by the School 159
How Family Affects Respect for School 163
How Peers Affect Respect for School . 166
How Students Would Improve
Their Schools.......................... 170
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Using the
Variables of Site, Class Rank,
Ethnicity and Gender................... 173
Summary of Key Data Findings........... 173
Summary of Most Statistically
Significant Variables...................175
Other Notable Findings..................176
5. SUMMARY
Introduction.......................... 180
Summary of Research Approach..........181
Limitations and Successes of the Study 183
Comparison of Findings to Previous
Research..............................184
XI


Findings From Comparison of Means of
Respect For the School Responses and
Respect Awarded From the School
Responses...............................192
Implications of the Study and
Recommendations for Practice...........200
Recommendations for Further Research . 200
Summary.................................210
APPENDIXES
A. Interview Protocol..................212
B. Research Request Letter to
School Sites ...................... 221
C. Student/Parent Permission Form......223
D. Direct Quotations from Top
Three Listed Respect Factors........225
E. Direct Quotations from Top
Four Listed Disrespect Factors .... 229
F. Qualities of Good and Poor Teachers 233
REFERENCES
236


I
TABLES
Table
4.1. Demographics of Each School Site.............91
4.2. Number and Percentages of Types of Response to
Question 1, "What do you respect most about
your high school experience?"............... 96
4.3. Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
2, "Of the areas mentioned [in Question 1],
which three do you respect the most
and why?".................................... 99
4.4. Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
3, "What do you respect least about your high
school experiences?" ........................ 102
4.5. Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
4, "Of the areas mentioned [in Question 3],
which three do you respect the least
and why?"................................... 108
4.6. Median Ranks of Individual
"Respect" Components ....................... 110
4.7. Median Ranks of Individual "Respect" Components
According to School........................ Ill
4.8. Median Ranks of Individual "Respect" Components
According to Ethnicity..................... Ill
4.9. Median Ranks of Individual "Respect" Components
According to Class Rank and Gender......... 112
I
XIU


4.10.
4.11.
4.12.
4.13 .
4.14.
4.15.
4.16.
4.17.
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 6, "On a scale of one to
ten (one being low and ten being high) how do
you rate your overall level of respect for your
high school?"............................... 113
Means and Standard Deviations on "Overall Level
of Respect," by School, Class Rank, Ethnicity,
and Gender.................................. 116
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 7, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the quality of the teachers in your high
school?".................................... 120
Means and Standard Deviations on "Respect for
Quality of Teaching," by School, Class Rank,
Ethnicity, and Gender ...................... 123
Number and Frequency of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 8, "On a scale of one to
ten, how much do you respect needing to take
these particular classes to get
your diploma?".............................. 126
Means and Standard Deviations on "Required
Classes," by School, Class Rank, Ethnicity, and
Gender...................................... 129
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 9, "On a scale of one to
ten, what is your respect level for the number
of credits required by your school to get a
diploma?" .................................. 130
Means and Standard Deviations on "Required
Credits to Graduate," by School, Class Rank,
Ethnicity, and Gender....................... 132


4.18. Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 10, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the extracurricular activities at
your school?"...............................134
4.19. Means and Standard Deviations on
"Extracurricular Activities," by School, Class
Rank, Ethnicity, and Gender.................137
4.20. Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 11, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the rules and procedures of your school?" .. 139
4.21. Means and Standard Deviations on "Rules and
Procedures," by School, Class Rank, Ethnicity,
and Gender.................................. 141
4.22. Results of Significant One-Way ANOVAS on "Rules
and Procedures" Responses for the Variables of
School and Ethnicity........................ 143
4.23. Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 12, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the relevancy of this high school to your
future ambitions?" ......................... 146
4.24. Means and Standard Deviations on "Relevancy of
High School to Future Ambitions,' by School,
Class Rank, Ethnicity, and Gender .......... 148
4.25. Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 13, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the availability of classes offered at your
school?".................................... 149
4.26. Means and Standard Deviations on "Availability
of Classes," by School, Class Rank, Ethnicity,
and Gender.................................. 151
XV


4.27 .
4.28.
4.29 .
4.30. .
4.31.
4.32 .
4.33 .
4.34.
4.35.
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 14, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
the intellectual/academic challenge of the
classes you have taken?".................... 153
Means and Standard Deviations on "Respect for
Academic Challenge," by School, Class Rank,
Ethnicity, and Gender....................... 155
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 15, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate your level of respect for
how much your school addresses your individual
needs?"..................................... 157
Means and Standard Deviations on "How Well the
School Addresses Individual Student Needs," by
School, Class Rank, Ethnicity, and Gender . 159
Number and Percentages of Positive and Negative
Responses to Question 16, "On a scale of one to
ten, how do you rate the overall respect that
you feel the school awards you?"............161
Means and Standard Deviations on "Respect for
the Student by the School," by School, Class
Rank, Ethnicity, and Gender................. 162
Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
17, "On this same scale of one to ten, if ten
is "a lot" and one is "none," to what level do
your family's opinions and values affect your
level of respect for the high school?"......165
Means and Standard Deviations on "How Family
Affects Respect for School," by School, Class
Rank, Ethnicity, and Gender................. 166
Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
18, "Using the same scale as the previous
question, if ten is "a lot" and one is "none,*


how much does [your peer] group affect your
level of respect for the high school?"......168
4.35. Means and Standard Deviations on "Peer
Influence,' by School, Class Rank, Ethnicity
and Gender.................................. 169
4.37. Number and Percentages of Responses to Question
2 0, "What changes would you make to improve the
life of high school students, both
educationally and socially?"............... 171
4.38. Summary of Overall Means for All Components 174
4.39. Summary of Significant One-Way ANOVAS for the
Variables of School, Class Rank
and Ethnicity............................... 175
5.1. Mean Scores for Overall Respect By Students for
The School (Question 6) Compared to Respect the
Students Felt Was Awarded to Them By the School
(Question 16) .............................. 193
XVII


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Where innovations fail to take root in
schools and classrooms, it may be because
students are guardians of the existing
culture, and as such represent a powerful
conservative force... Unless we give
attention to the problems that students
face we may be overlooking a significant
feature of the innovation process.
(Rudduck, Chaplain, and Wallace, 1996,
p 3)
Researchers have found that young people
are observant, are often capable of
analytic and constructive comment, and
usually respond well to the serious
responsibilities of helping to identify
aspects of schooling that strengthen or
get in the way of learning. (Cullingford,
1991, p.63)
Student voices are likely to evolve as
they find their experiences respected and
reaffirmed by others. (Soo Hoo, 1993, p.
386)
Webster's (1991) dictionary defines respect as a
bestowing of honor, admiration, or esteem. Respect of a
teacher or of certain attributes of a high school can
lead to increased student motivation for success and
I


positive behavior patterns. A lack of respect can lead,
to decreased student motivation, negative behavior
patterns, or in the worst case, a student dropping out of
the institution because of the lack of value afforded it.
Respect for their high school experience can influence
the opportunities that students will pursue after leaving
their school and can influence the people with whom the
students later have contact.
If educational leaders can ascertain in-depth
student perceptions about high school experiences, they
can make organizational changes which could lead to
higher student productivity and morale in the
institution, and later positive valuing about those
experiences to the larger society outside. If the school
reform movement does not include connection with the
youth subculture, can its effectiveness be maximized?
National content standards seem to be the trend for
the future of education in the United States. However,
there is little evidence of student participation in the
formulation stage of those standards. Students, for the
most part, have been left out of discussions where these
2


standards have been created by teachers, administrators,
college leaders, business leaders and political leaders.
The students' role appears to be relegated to their
demonstration of skills during the piloting of the
assessments that are required of them. Fullan (1993), in
a study of the authoritarian view of how school reforms
are implemented, asked "What would happen if we treated
the student as someone whose opinion mattered?" (p. 70) .
Research findings show little evidence of a serious
attempt by educators to listen to the student voice.
Virtually no research has been done that places student
experience at the center of attention (Erickson and
Shultz, 1992, p. 146) While literature on school-based
management advocates more important roles for teachers
and parents, students are often omitted from the
discussion (Levin, 1995, p. 17) Politicians who make
decisions regarding school reforms, along with the
teachers who run the classrooms, seldom ask how the
students themselves perceive their school (Anderson,
1995, p. 5).
3


i
i
i
i
Reforming school structures alone will not lead, to
differences in student achievement if such changes are
not accompanied by profound changes in how we as
educators think about our students. One way to begin the
process of changing school policies is to listen to
students views about them (Nieto, 1994, pp. 395-396).
The shortfall in success occurs because the problems
are complex and intractable. The strategies that are
used do not focus on the questions that will really make
a difference, such as:
1. How do we improve?
2. What are positive and negative experiences?
3 What enhances or diminishes motivation or engagement?
4. Why do schools give up or settle for minimum risk
positions (Fullen, 1993, p. 46)?
What happens in schools appears to have the sanction
of natural law and can no more be questioned than the
laws of gravity. In this situation, power relations can
make teachers reluctant to concede that young people
might have something important to say about the
management of learning (Greene, 1985). Greene (1995, p.
I
4


4) maintains that students are not competent to judge
matters of teaching and learning; this is referred to as
the "convenient ideology of immaturity" (Grace, 1995) .
Research shows low indications of correlation
between students' responses and responses from others
about the same issues. This can be interpreted as an
indication that schools may not be responding to the
perceived desires of students, but are perhaps being
influenced by the outside pressures of the economy or
government policy (Townsend, 1994, p. 146) .
Educating students today is a vastly different and
more complex proposition than it has been in the past.
Reforming school structure alone will not lead to
differences in student achievement if such changes are
not accompanied by profound changes in how we as
educators think about our students:
One key way to begin the process of changing
school policies is to listen to student voices
about them. Research focusing of student voice
is relatively recent and scarce. A focus on
students is not meant to suggest that their
ideas should be the final and conclusive word
in how schools need to change nor should their
words be accepted as the sole guide in school
improvement because this would be to accept a
romantic view of students that is just as
5


partial and condescending as excluding them
completely from these discussions. (Nieto,
1994, p. 394, 398)
According to Phelan, Yu, and Davidson (1994, p.
696), research should give more attention to students'
views of the aspects that affect their learning; not so
much to the factors outside school but to those inside
school that teachers and policy makers have some power to
change. That is why this research study looked closely
at student perspectives about experiences inside the
school, but only briefly at the influences outside the
school that we know also play substantial roles in the
development of students' respect for their high school
experiences.
Students have much to say about school and classroom
conditions that educators should hear-: about how they
feel about themselves as learners and as members of the
school community, as well as their perceptions of the
school as an educational and social setting. Because
students have these perceptions and thoughts to share,
one would hope to find them engaging in dialogue with
educators about planning that is relevant to their
6


learning and social situations. Students need to be co-
conspirators in creating optimal learning situations and
environments conducive to those situations (Phelan et
al., 1994, p. 704).
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention of the
Rights of a Child states that "the child capable of
forming (his or her) own views shall be assured the right
to express those views freely, on all matters affecting
him or her, and these will be given weight in accordance
with the childs age*(Gersch, Holgate, and Sigston, 1993,
pp. 38, 44) Does American school culture give proper
weight to the perspectives of high school students? Why
or why not?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to examine high school
seniors' feelings of respect about many aspects of their
entire high school experience. This study also examined
perspectives of students about reasons for their respect
or lack of respect for these aspects. The study examined
7


these things by answering research questions in the
following five areas:
1. General respect: a. What do students generally
respect and not respect most about their overall high
school experience, and how is that respect determined?
b. Do site, academic performance, ethnicity, and gender
relate to their perspectives?
2. Respect for specific components of experience:
a. What do students generally respect and not respect
about specific components of the educational experience,
and how is that determined? Components examined in this
study included quality of teaching, required courses,
required credits, extracurricular activities, rules and
procedures, relevancy to future ambitions, availability
of classes, academic challenge and individual needs being
addressed, b. Do site, academic performance, ethnicity,
and gender relate to their respect of these components?
3. Students' perceptions of reciprocal respect: a. Do
students feel respected by the high school, and how do
they determine this respect? b. Do site, academic
8


performance, ethnicity, and. gender relate to their
respect of these components?
4. Influence of family and peers on respect: a. What
influence do students perceive that families and peers
have upon their respect for their high school
experiences, and how is that influence determined? b. Do
site, academic performance, ethnicity, and gender relate
to their respect of these components?
5 Seniors' recommendations: What recommendations would
seniors make for improving their high school experiences?
Significance of the Study
In 1997, the Association of Supervision and
Curriculum Development (ASCD) Yearbook reviewed the
research on student perspectives on school improvement.
This report was summarized in an article written by
Rudduck, Day, and Wallace (1997, pp. 83-88), and showed
that minimal research has been done on student
perspectives of their schooling experiences. Student
attitude instruments have been developed which collect a
quick glimpse of the student view of the school
9


organization, but most, if not all, of these instruments
have been developed by educational professionals.
For a long time now, educators have relied
on changes to curriculum and pedagogy as
the key to school improvement. Recently,
educators have focused on the need for
coherent schoolwide policies and an
explicit, even slogan-like, commitment to
high expectations and achievement. But
despite all this, little attention has
been given to the regimes of schooling and
their influences on the conditions of
learning as young people experience them.
Over the last 20 years, schools have
changed less in their basic structure and
relationship patterns than young people
have changed. Conditions of learning do
not always reflect the social maturity of
young people nor the tensions they feel as
they struggle to reconcile the development
of their social selves with the
development of their identity as
learners... Young people are involved in
complex relationships and have to balance
multiple roles... The traditional
exclusion of young people from the
consultative processes... is founded upon
an outdated view of childhood that fails
to acknowledge children's capacity to
reflect on issues affecting their lives.
(Hargreaves, 1997, p.89)
Students have identified the institution's lack of
respect for them as their number one concern in several
studies (Rudduck et al., 1996; Deiro, 1994; Stem, 1979;
10


Gottfredson, 1984) It is therefore appropriate that
this study focused on the reverse lens, the student's
respect of the institution.
This study looked beyond a typical student attitude
questionnaire. Corbett and Blum (1993) asserted that
school systems should think first about students and
identify the kinds of rules, roles, and relationships
(that is, the social structure) needed to support
successful learning" before making massive educational
changes (York-Barr, 1996, p. 81) .
Steinberg (1996) in his popular book. Beyond the
Classroom, identified several alarming findings in his
multi-year, multi-school qualitative study of high school
students:
1. Over one-third of the students surveyed said they got
through the day primarily by goofing off.
2. Nine out of ten students copied homework, and two-
thirds cheated on tests.
3. Two-thirds of students were employed, and half of
those worked over fifteen hours.
11


I
4. Forty percent who engaged in athletics say they were
often so tired they couldn't study.
5. Fewer than one in five said their friends thought
grades were important.
6. One-third wanted to be "partyers" while one-tenth
desired to be seen as brains.
7. 20% of the students said they didn't try as hard as
they could have.
8. The average high school student spent only four hours
a week on homework.
Steinberg's identification of ethnicity, peers,
achievement, social economic status, and parents as major
factors in the seniors' experiences led this researcher
to consider these factors when selecting interview
participants.
At the beginning of this chapter, insight was
provided about students' perspectives on the major issues
addressed in this study. Scotter (1994) claimed that
however much we convince ourselves that we are presenting
their authentic voice, we are still likely to be
refracting their meanings through the lens of our own
!


interests and concerns. Sleeter and Grant (1991, p. 67)
added that the voice of all pupils should be listened to,
not just those who are more academically and socially
confident, because the less effective learners are most
likely to be able to explore aspects of the system that
have constrained commitment and progress. These are the
voices least likely to be heard, yet are those which, can
be the most important.
Results of this study will hopefully be valuable to
state legislators, university professors who axe
preparing teachers, school boards, superintendents, and
especially, building principals and teachers. Schumacker
and Brookshire (1992) reported than a number of school
superintendents selected student attitude information*
as one of the two top indicators for secondary schools
(York-Barr, 1996, p.81) If, as in the business world,
the slogan is to know your client, this research is an
opportunity to know anew the client who the educational
institution claims to serve.
13


Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined for the purpose of
clarifying key concepts considered in this study.
Respect centers around the concept of admiration
felt or shown for someone or something believed to have
good ideas or qualities (Cambridge International
Dictionary of English, 1995). Examples are:
1. I have great respect for his ideas, although I don't
agree with them,
2. She is a formidable figure who commands a great deal
of respect, and
3 New teachers have to earn/gain respect the respect
of their students.
It was explained to the students interviewed that
the discussion was not about how well they like their
school experiences, but about the respect they have for
them.
The term high school in this study refers to schools
which include grades nine through twelve.
The word experiences is relegated to the students'
views of their high school building, teachers and
14


administrative staff, course work, assignments, school
related activities (including athletics)', and social
experiences with peers and staff that occur on school
grounds.
Methodology Overview
This research was exploratory in nature, with an
intent to accurately describe the findings from the
interview instrument. The overriding purpose of this
research was to obtain students' perspectives of their
high school experiences. To accomplish this, an open-
ended interview process was used, allowing for frank and
confidential student voice. These data were gathered
individually.
A diverse sample of students, in terms of
backgrounds and experiences, was needed for this study.
Sixty students, 12 from each site, were chosen from five
different large (1000-2300 students) high schools. These
sites were in urban and suburban settings, located in and
near a city in the western United States. Sites were
chosen so that diverse student populations were included.
15


Site selection criteria are further discussed in Chapter
3 .
All of the participants were seniors, because it is
assumed they have the most experience when looking back
at multiple years of schooling. Two methods of
identifying these seniors took place. These were:
1. Random selection from student volunteers, and
2. Assurance of gender and class rank representation.
Analysis of the data was primarily qualitative, with
the use of tables to demonstrate recurring themes. Some
quantitative analyses comparing responses by gender,
educational class rank (upper, middle, and lower 20th
percentiles), ethnicity, and school site also were
conducted.
The issue of student respect is multifaceted. The
term ''respect* is a word that appears in several attitude
surveys on the principle feeling students would most like
reciprocated from the institution. "Respect' has a
different connotation and meaning than like, dislike,
value, opinion, and attitude. The structure of this
study was designed to obtain a general perspective about


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respect, rather than an in-depth perception of one
specific aspect of high school life.
This exploratory study uses a synthesizer-
orientation approach to the student perspective issue.
Krathwohl (1993, p. 640) claims that the criteria for
excellence in this approach are "production of an
accurate description of phenomena and, if possible, an
explanation of its essential characteristics". Even
though this study doesn't completely construct the
reality behind the meaning of what students respect, it
does explain essential themes derived from student
responses concerning respect. The qualitative data in
this study present the data for a holistic view of
student perspectives. This is accomplished through the
inclusion of open-ended questions asking what they
respect and do not respect, questions asking for ratings
of specific school components, and questions asking for
recommendations for school improvement. Reality of what
the student respects is not a prior given, but is based
upon interpretation that is constructed during the
student-researcher interview process. Participant
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observation is not part of this study. The ratings
portion of the Likert-type scale indicates mean averages
of student responses. The means are examined for
differences in statistical significance with the
variables of school site, class rank by grade point
average, ethnicity and gender to indicate patterns that
might infer possible future research interests. This
study has limited correlational validity.
Structure of the Dissertation
The dissertation is organized in the traditional
five chapter approach. Chapter 1 discusses the research
problem, purpose of the study, significance of the study,
perspectives used to approach the study, and a summary of
the methodology.
Chapter 2 is a discussion of literature related to
the problem of this study. Section one of this chapter
introduces the review. The second section reviews
adolescent social theories that relate to this study.
The third section addresses the use and importance of the
term "respect,* and the fourth section reviews general
18


research on student perspectives and the themes it has
uncovered. The fifth section examines previous
approaches to examining student perspectives which have
used inductive/qualitative methods. Section six reviews
past deductive/quantitative methods. General student
perspectives on specific components of school such as
curriculum, instruction, extracurricular activities,
rules and procedures, membership in social groups and how
students would improve their high school experiences are
included in the seventh section. Factors that influence
student perspectives such as family, peers,
ethnicity/race, socio-economic status, previous academic
achievement, and dating, jobs, etc. are discussed in the
final section of the literature review. A brief summary
concludes the review of the literature.
Chapter 3 discusses site selection, sampling, data
collection methods, interview questions used in the
collection, related protocol, and how the data were
subsequently analyzed.
Chapter 4 discusses data results and indicates some
analyses of the data.
19


Finally, Chapter 5 summarizes the findings, compares
them to previous research and presents the implications
of the study for practice and future research.


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This research was exploratory in nature, intended to
accurately describe the findings from the interview
instrument, especially the qualitative section. The
introductory section of this chapter summarizes the
contents of the literature review. The second section
examines social and adolescent theory approaches to
student perspectives. The third section examines why the
term "respect' was used, and the previous research that
proves how important this concept is to students. The
fourth section reviews some general research on student
perspectives and the themes it has uncovered. The fifth
section of this chapter discusses specific qualitative
approaches to research regarding to student perspectives
and responses about school experiences and themes that
have evolved inductively through more qualitative
research methods. A brief dialogue concerning the
21


findings of some of these studies follows the
descriptions of the categories. The sixth section of the
chapter examines specific quantitative approaches and
responses to research on student perspectives of their
school experiences. The seventh section covers research
about student perspectives on specific components of high
school experiences. These specific components include
curriculum, quality of instruction, extracurricular
activities, rules and procedures, membership in social
groups, and how students would improve their high school
experiences. A discussion of these components at the end
of the section generally follows the order of the
interview instrument used in this study, with some
rearranging for clarity. The eighth section discusses
research concerning the relationships between student
perspectives of their high school experience and the
influences, such as family, peers, ethnicity/race, socio-
economic status, past achievement level, and dating,
jobs, etc. that impact those perspectives. Again, the
order of presentation of this research roughly follows
criteria used to select students for this study and the
22


order of the interview instrument. A brief summary
concludes this review of the literature.
Social Theory Approaches Regarding
Adolescent Perspectives
An understanding of social theories applied to this
research is essential to recognizing the basis for
selection of questions in the interview instrument.
Literature on the topic of respect includes studies from
adolescent psychological, sociological and ecological
frameworks. Respect does not exist in isolation. The
variables considered in this study were gender,
ethnicity, socio-economic status, academic achievement
and school culture. Each of these may affect a student's
perception of "respect* for their high school
experiences.
According to Erickson's (1959) theory of adolescent
identity, exploration is at the heart of the adolescent
transition. The self can experience vulnerability,
confusion, and conflict (Kidwell, Dunham, Macho,
Pastorino, and Portes, 1996). This can cause
fluctuations in perspective.
23


Bronfenbrenner (1977) studied the ecological
approach to human development. Ecology investigates the
complex system of interlinked and interdependent
relationships of our biological and social environment.
For each individual adolescent, a continuously
interacting set of complex social relationships exists.
To understand human development, researchers need to go
beyond directly observable or measurable behavior to the
examination of multi-person systems of interaction,
taking into account the aspects of the environment which
go beyond the immediate situations containing the
subject. Brofenbrenner (1977) and Garbarino (1985)
developed a model with four systems: microsystems which
included home, church, clubs, and friends; a mesosystem
which was the immediate school; exosystems which included
the factions that interconnect with the school; and a
macrosystem which consisted of the American culture.
Social cognition research also applies to this
study. Selman (1971, 76, 77) formulated a model of
societal perspective-taking. He clustered perspective-
taking according to parent, peers, friends, and self.
24


This social cognition affects the role-taking of
adolescents and is a bridge between logical and moral
thought for teenagers. Although the final part of this
literature review will address only certain documented
influences upon adolescents, biological, sociological,
political, and psychological aspects are all indirectly
connected with student perceptions of the meaning of
respect.
Student Respect
The term respect or, as it is often termed in
research, attitudes, perspectives, opinions or voice,
cannot be viewed in isolation since respect is a value
given by a person to a certain issue.
A key reason for focusing on the term respect is the
value it holds with the youth subculture. "Personal
dignity" rated 7.65 out of 10 on the Stern (1979)
Personality and Environment Index (Arter, 1987) and
"respect for students by the institution' rated 0.98 out
of 1.0 on the Effective School Battery (Gottfredson,
1984). These items received the highest ratings among
25


I
numerous variables on the validation index by student
participants.
In the qualitative research study conducted by Deiro
(1994), the dissertation summary concluded with the
following comments:
In summary, treating students with dignity and
respect is an overarching strategy that
crosscuts the data. It is the primary strategy
these teachers use to communicate their caring
to students. Data support that treating
students with dignity and respect appears to
enhance a student's perceptions of caring and
concern on the teacher's part. (Deiro, 1994,
p. 196)
A four-year study of English students in grades 6-11
by Rudduck et al. (1996) concluded that respect for
pupils as individuals and as a body occupying a
significant position in the institution of the school"
was the number one principle listed from the top six
themes gathered from this lengthy study concerning
pupils' perspectives. These quantitative and qualitative
approaches support the use of the word respect as a word
high school seniors understand and can relate to when
identifying their student perspectives.
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26


General Research on Student Perspectives
Research related to student perspectives of their
school experiences has included having students identify
effective teaching characteristics (Tell, 1983),
assessing how students like or dislike the environment
(Keefe, 1989), measuring student's identification with
school (Voekl, 1996), examining how students become
popular (Suitor and Reavis, 1995), examining how teachers
bond with students (Deiro, 1994), looking at teachers'
perceptions on how to engage with the student world
(Sleeter and Grant, 1991), and looking into student
perspectives on authority and compliance issues within
the school setting (Miller, 1971). In addition, Schutz
(1997) looked at how students identify their goals,
Jacobs (1989) examined student participation in
activities, Kidwell (1988) discussed student achievement
beyond the classroom, Larson (1989) identified how
students perform better in classes they enjoy, and
American Profile (1992) examined seniors' perceptions of
their high schools. These are just a few of the many
27


facets concerning student perspectives of their schooling
which have been examined in past research.
At a recent national forum for school reform,
student voice on this issue of reform was first
considered (Comfort, 1997). At this forum, it was
discussed that students feel that learning tends to be
fragmented and abstract. Several themes that developed
from that forum were:
1. Schools should move to a more connected and focused
curriculum,
2 They should use a more flexible instructional system,
and
3. A stronger sense of community should be developed.
However, students have mixed views on being involved in
this improvement process. Isaichewa (1992) reported that
many students had suggestions for school change but few
expressed an interest in being part of that change
effort. Research by Peters (1987) mentioned that these
stakeholders must be involved in the change process to
give focus to how schools function as living places, an
important element of school reform.
28


Phelan (1994) developed a multi-world model from a
qualitative study done in four high schools in
California. She conceived of the idea that students'
worlds are mutually inclusive of self, peers, family, and
school. The goal of her research was to be able to
measure transitions within those four domains.
Apparently, student construction of respect is inclusive
of those multiple worlds. The focus of this study was
not on how adolescents award respect, but on which school
experiences created that position of respect. However, a
generic view of the adolescent mind and the
interconnecting worlds of the adolescent are relative to
this study.
Qualitative Approaches to
Examining Student Perspectives
Substantial difficulties existed in the Armwood
senior survey because it was for seniors only, and
because the questions were short-answer and open-ended
instead of being Likert scaled. The questions described
memorable learning experiences, qualities of good
teachers, qualities of weak teachers, classroom
29


approaches to teaching and learning, grade motivation,
improvement of instruction and improvement of the school
overall (Hughes, 1989) "The theme which emerged again
and again was that genuine caring on the part of teachers
can motivate students and promote the learning process"
(Hughes, p. 50) The Hughes survey is conducted each
year and findings from it will be discussed in some of
the specific categories in the section of this chapter
entitled "Student Perspectives on Specific Components of
High School Experiences".
Mallory (1962) conducted a study on eight high
schools in which he noticed six themes developing as
students spoke out. In curriculum, students desired to
see some point or purpose to their course work, and in
advanced classes, students received only in-depth
memorization and testing when what they really sought was
individual exploration and thinking. From teachers,
students wanted to have their confidence built, the
material explained adequately, subjects opened for
exploration, and encouragement to challenge the teacher.
30


[
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Silberman did a study in 1971 on student experiences
of schooling. He noticed that schooling consists of a
much broader experience than just what is contained in
textbooks. In addition to acquiring information,
students also learn the rules of membership in a social
institution. This reiterated messages from the ASCD
conference of 1969, which highlighted the hidden
curriculum as a set of rules, routines, and procedures
designed to mold individual behavior to the requirements
of institutional living.
Phelan, Davidson, and Cao (1992) did a qualitative
study over two years in four California high schools
using participant observation and interviews of ninth and
tenth graders. This study of student perspectives
resulted in the following seven student-initiated themes:
1. classroom environments
2. relationships with teachers
3. instructional pedagogy
4. school environments
5. intergroup relationships
6. boundaries and movement among groups
31


other student behaviors
Phelan's work concentrated on the principles of
relationships and again indicated findings similar to
Stern's and Gottfredson's about students desiring
respect. Phelan's study confirmed that students want
teachers to recognize who they are, to
listen to what they have to say, and to
respect their efforts. In classrooms
where personalities are allowed to show,
students respond more fully, both
academically and personally.. It is
mostly the way that the teachers treat you
as a student or as a person, actually
that matter the most to us' quotes a
student. In fact the number of student
references to 'wanting caring teachers' is
so great that we believe it speaks to the
quiet desperation and loneliness of many
adolescents in today's society. (Phelan,
p. 696 & 698)
Some other key themes indicated by the students'
voices in the Phelan study were that they preferred
active instead of inactive learning, wanted to learn from
teachers more than texts, could not stand teachers who
only preached their point of view, desired flexibility in
assignments and grading, and strongly desired safety and
predictability of consequences. Phelan concluded that
32


perspectives among teachers and students on learning are
quite similar and seldom at odds.
York-Barr (1996) researched student perspectives on
desired life outcomes and found three general themes
through the research process. First, students generally-
felt positive about school. Second, they wanted more
quality relationships in the building, and third, they
desired a curriculum that is relevant to a current and
future life. The York-Barr research is similar to this
study in that most of it is student-based.
High performing students now perceive high school to
be a place to achieve in more than one area and when they
fail to do so, their perspective of the institution is
diminished because their self-esteem is lowered (Goldberg
and Chandler, 1989). Females' prestige in high school,
which affects their perspective on their school
experiences, is based on four criteria: physical
appearance, sociability, grades, and intelligence (Suitor
and Reavis
1995).


Quantitative Approaches to
Examining Student Perspectives
Listed below are themes that have been involved in
several quantitative student-opinion survey instruments.
The students' views on the school environment as obtained
by Stern were found to be in the seven areas of
"intellectual climate, expressiveness, group social life,
personal dignity, achievement standards,
orderliness/control and peer group dominance" (Stern,
1979). Findings showed personal dignity (7.65 out of 10)
as the number one choice of students. Students' ability
to express (6.69), achievement standards (6.38),
intellectual climate (6.36), and group social life (6.21)
were found to be especially important. Orderliness
(3.91) and peer group dominance (2.33) were viewed as
having little importance to students in regard to the
overall school environment.
The Effective School Battery Instrument
(Gottfredson, 1984) used by Psychological Assessment
Resources, assessed data according to student safety,
teacher respect for students, teacher planning and
action, fairness of rules, clarity of rules, and student
34


influences (pp. 2-7). A student-based report of needs
indicated that staff respect for the students (.98 out of
1.0) and student safety (.84) were rated the highest by
students. Clarity of rules (.76) and fairness of rules
(.64) had less value to the students.
Currently many school districts purchase the student
opinion inventory (SOX) instrument produced by the
National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE, 1996). This
instrument divides student opinions into the areas of
quality of the instructional program, support for student
learning, school climate/environment for learning, and
student activities/involvement.
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) use the Student
Opinion Questionnaire (SOQ), developed by the MPS
Research and Evaluation Department. This questionnaire
includes the areas of interest in learning, liking of
school, unfair punishment, self-concept and learning,
friendly atmosphere, student involvement in decision-
making, class type discussion, curriculum relevance,
fears of asking questions, perceptions of academic
progress, and racial items (Johnson, 1976, p. 2).
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Results from this SOQ study showed that positive
student attitudes toward school drop 7-10% between 7th
grade and high school. Students in high school did not
view themselves as being as successful as they had been
in 7th grade, nor did they see school as being relevant
to their world, or teachers as caring as much about their
individual needs. In all of the categories examined,
student perspectives toward school declined between
junior and senior high school.
Some student opinion surveys have been created by
task forces of administrators, teachers, and community
parents, and have often been part of other surveys given
in a district. Often, these surveys are created in
response to a specific concern of a board member,
superintendent, or principal who has a strong interest in
these data. In the Clark High School study, themes were
created around student attitudes towards peers or student
body, physical environment, teachers, administrators,
curriculum, and educational values (Jeffs, 1973, p. 1).
This was a quantitative approach in which Utah State
University worked with the instrumentation. The findings
36
i


showed an overall positive attitude toward school except
in the area of attitude toward administration. Minnesota
study findings (Johnson, 1976) were refuted somewhat
because they showed juniors as having a more positive
attitude toward school than freshmen, except in the area
of relevance, in which case juniors and seniors saw less
value in school overall than did freshmen and sophomores.
This study also showed that ninth graders held a higher
value toward education than any other grade level, while
females in all grades had a more positive attitude toward
the curriculum than the males.
Student Perspectives on Specific
Components of High School Experiences
Curriculum
Findings in the Scotter (1994) study on what young
people think about school and society indicated that
students had a solid grasp on their educational needs for
tomorrow. Math (56%), English (52%), Science (43%),
Business Education (40%), and Health (36%) were seen as


I
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more important than some of the other required courses
such as social studies and physical education.
The national forum for school reform cited by
Comfort (1997) revealed a general consensus that students
felt learning was fragmented and abstract and that the
pieces did not add up. "Themes developed at this forum
were: schools should move to a connected and focused
curriculum, they should use a more flexible instructional
system, and a stronger sense of community should be
developed" (p. 180). Students strongly believed in the
study of core subjects, but felt that the ideas from them
needed to be connected to the world of experience outside
of school. A study by Chase (1992) contradicted this
finding when he compared student satisfaction to that of
parents and teachers. He found that students were the
least satisfied with school of the three groups, and that
the major reason given was that they could not see a
purpose for the required course work. Overall, research
showed that students were satisfied with school but that
their view was less favorable than the views of parents
and teachers.
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Student perceptions about proposed graduation exit
exams have been mixed. In a study of graduation exit
criteria at Littleton High School in Colorado (Davis,
94) students were motivated to work because their
diploma depended on the quality of their artifacts. Much
research has supported this, although in Catterall's
study (1991), high-achieving students in California saw
these exit exams as a "joke, while low-achieving
students considered them as "just another painful chore".
Since no one knew of a student who had actually failed
them, the tests lost validity with the student
population.
Questions about curriculum in this interview that
incorporated themes from the above research were 8, 9 and
12. These questions asked students about their level of
respect for classes required to graduate, the number of
credits required to graduate and the relevancy of high
school to future ambitions.
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I
Quality of Instruction
-In the Rudduck et al. (1996) study, students
believed that these four features reflected respect and
challenge for instruction:
1. Lessons were well-prepared, students knew they had
learned something, and the teacher had put effort into
preparing the lesson,
2 . Lessons had a clear focus and a content that engaged
with pupil's everyday experiences,
3 . Lessons had a variety of pace and activity, and
4. Importance of teaching that signaled to pupils that
the teacher enjoyed teaching the subject and them (p.
176) .
The Hughes (1989) survey response indicated that
students saw the best teacher characteristics as being
"strict discipline, varies teaching methods, covers
material thoroughly, organized, material is made
interesting, and information is given practical uses* (p.
40) Young et al. (1999) added insight into how students
view the volume/clarity of teachers' voices.
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Tell's (1983) dissertation on effective teacher
characteristics as perceived by students listed the
following as the top ten student choices out of one
hundred possibilities of qualities of a good teacher:
1. explains assignments clearly,
2. helps students with difficult materials,
3. does not put students down,
4. is honest,
5. grades fairly,
6. does not compare students,
7. has a positive attitude,
8. does not ridicule students,
9. knows the ability levels of each student, and
10. does not take personal problems out on students.
English students in the Rudduck et al. (1996) study
identified the top five teacher characteristics as
teachers enjoying teaching their subject, enjoying the
students, having lessons which are interesting and
relevant, possessing humor and classroom order, and being
fair and easy to talk to (p. 161) .


Students sometimes experience difficulty with,
teacher expectations. In a study by Baksh and Martin
(1984), students indicated that they dismissed teacher
expectations if they saw them as unreachable. Top
students saw teachers as having standards that are overly
demanding for them and low students saw teachers as
needing to adopt expectations according to their ability
level. Murtaugh (1988) supported this by indicating that
low achieving students were unlikely to be motivated to
work hard at school because they could not see any
tangible reward for their labors.
Based on the above research, this study instrument
incorporated Questions 7 and 14 regarding quality of
instruction. Question 7 asked about students' level of
respect for the quality of teachers, while Question 14
addressed the level of respect for intellectual/academic
challenge.
Extracurricular Activities
Activities had a mixed review from students. Echert
(1989) found that extracurricular activities usually
42


became the exclusive domain of mainstream students and
that this categorization was associated with two student
sub-cultures: a positive image if a student is a jock and
a burnout image if the student is not. A study by Jacobs
(1989) did not fully support this research, as it showed
students of high and low socio-economic status as having
the same amount of participation in athletics, activities
and clubs. The black students in his study had a greater
percentage of participation and a higher level of
satisfaction from the activities than did the white
students.
Student perspectives on why they do not participate
in activities were identified in the Jacobs (1989) study
as being lack of time (35%), lack of interest (23%), and
dominated by certain students and/or a teacher (30%).
Other interesting findings from the Jacobs study on
student perspectives were:
1. Of the students who participate, only 9% were very
satisfied and 49% satisfied;
2. Grade point averages of participants was higher by
3.05 to 2.54;
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43


3. Participants in extracurricular activities had higher
college aspirations than those who did not participate;
and
4. Twenty-five to 50% participated in some
extracurricular activity during their high school years
(p. 179).
Past research has shown extracurricular activities to
be associated with self-esteem, political socialization,
academic achievement, educational aspirations, and school
completion (Moran, 1991, p. 286). Males perceived being
a student-athlete as their ideal role in the social world
of high school (Chandler, 1989) Even students with low
academic achievement found the extracurricular arena to
be an excellent path to status in the high school setting
(Murtaugh, 1988).
Steinberg (1996) found that outside activities and
jobs of students hurt their achievement in school. In
the study by Jacobs (1989), students in the middle fifth
of their class rank had the highest participation rate in
outside activities, while the top fifth and lowest fifth
had the least participation.


In a study by Coleman (1961), the results found male
athletics to be the most important criterion for student
popularity, but in the research by Goldberg and Chandler
(1989), it was found that the athlete must be both a good
student and athlete in order to be in the upper quadrant
of popularity.
Recognizing the effect of participation in
extracurricular activities as having a major role in
students' high school experience, this study incorporated
Question 10 to specifically address students' level of
respect for extracurricular activities at their school.
Because of interaction between non-classroom activities
and academic performance, extracurricular activities also
affected Question 14 about students' level of respect for
the academic challenge they receive at school.
Rules and Procedures
Students overall want a safe place to attend school
with consistency in expectations and penalties. In
Deiro's (1994) dissertation study on bonding between
students and staff, strong discipline to help students
45


learn boundaries .and. a safe learning environment were
included as being important to students. As mentioned
previously, students feel a lack of respect at school by
certain teachers and administrators (Soo Hoo, 1993;
Sternberg, 1996). Sternberg mentioned that adolescents
feel like they were treated as adults by their part-time
job employers and given responsibilities as such, yet
were treated like children in the high school setting.
SooHoo repeatedly found students concerned about the
unequal privileges given to themselves versus the adults
in the school building.
Miller (1971) examined student perspectives on
authority and compliance in public schools for his
dissertation research, and found that the strongest
indication of correlation of student perspectives was
between low grades and negative school experience. When
grades are low, the school was viewed negatively, and
compliance and authority issues became greater as the
students lost their valuing of school.
Question 11 of this survey directly addressed
students' level of respect for rules and procedures, and
46


allowed for open-ended discussion for students to develop
themes about this important aspect of the high school
experience.
Membership in Social Groups
Extending the work of Phelan et al. (1992) on
relationships, Voekel's (1996) study reiterated the need
for students to feel like they are part of the school
academic community.
Valuing school is represented by students'
assessment of the general importance of school
and of the utility of everyday schooling for
one's future success; that is, "valuing"
denotes that the youngster regards school as an
important institution in society, feels that
the importance of what is learned in class in
important in its own right, and feels that
school is important in obtaining future
employment, (p. 763)
For the student who disidentifies from school, there is a
lack of value for the school and a lack of a sense of
belonging. In Voekel's study, out of sixteen factors,
students ranked "being treated with respect" and "having
people interested in them* as their two biggest concerns.
This concept of what students value was supported in the
47


research by Schutz (1997) on educational goals and
student academic performance. "Students who valued
educational goals accomplished more subgoals and were
more effective learners who were motivated to be more
successful academically" (p. 193).
Membership in a certain subculture, clique, crowd or
other group is addressed in interview Question 18 of this
study. Students were asked to identify the group in
which they would place themselves, and indicate how much
that peer group affected their level of respect for the
school by providing a rating from 1 to 10.
Improvement of High School Experience
Past research has been scarce on student-initiated
suggestions of how to improve the school. Student
perspectives were elicited in an in-depth study by
Rudduck, Chaplain, and Wallace in England (1996) in
which students in grades 6-11 were studied over a four-
year period using participant observation and individual
and group interviews. The principles that were
identified by students as ways for high schools to
48


improve included "respect" as their number one choice.
Students identified the following six categories in order
of priority:
1. respect for pupils as individuals and as a body
occupying a significant position in the institution,
2. fairness to all pupils irrespective of their class,
gender, ethnicity or academic status,
3. autonomy, not as an absolute state but as both a right
and a responsibility in relation to physical and social
maturity,
4. intellectual challenge that helps pupils experience
learning as dynamic, engaging, and an empowering
activity,
5. social support in relation to academic and emotional
concerns, and
6. security in relation to physical settings and their
emotional self esteem from personal encounters with other
students, (p. 174)
In the Let's Ask the Students (1997) study, students
indicated that schools help them learn by hiring good
teachers, keeping class size small, providing computers,
49


changing to block scheduling and offering opportunities
for real-life activities such as mentoring or job-
shadowing programs.
The final question on this interview instrument.
Question 20, asks students to suggest changes they would
make to improve the life of high school students, both
educationally and socially.
Influences on Student Perspectives of
High School Experiences
Questions 17 and 18 on the interview instrument
(Appendix A) dealt with peer influence, crowd
identification, and family influence. Research
consistently shows that family is the main influence on
student goals, while peers tend to influence both
behavior in school and the school activities in which
students choose to participate. When the studies based
on Stern's Personality and Environmental Index (Arter,
1987) and on the Effective School Battery (Gottfredson,
Hybl, Gottfredson, and Castaneda, 1986) were discussed
earlier in this literature review, evidence was presented
that demonstrates that peer influence is not as strong as
50


the personal core beliefs held by a student. Phelan
(1992), in her multiple-world theory, suggests this with
the student-self being at the center, while family,
culture and peers exist as interconnecting influences.
Only family and peer influence are examined in this
study. However, the human relationships among students
and educators play as crucial a role in school life as
curriculum and instruction and may have as powerful an
effect in learning (Willis, 1999).
Family
Parents tend to have a more positive perspective of
high school than do their children (Chase, 1992). Chase
also mentioned that parents and students on the NSSE
(National Study of School Evaluation) had closer
perspectives (r = .89) than student and teacher (r = .68)
or parent and teacher (r = .70) (p. 108) Students felt
that they were motivated and did not believe that they
saw relevance between course work and their everyday
lives. This was in direct contrast to how their parents
thought they would respond.
51


Two studies have been done on the family structure
and its effect on student perspectives about high school
graduation. In the Wojtkiewicz (1993) study, the years
that students spent in white non-intact families
decreased student desire to graduate, while in black
families this situation was nonsignificant. Manski,
Sandefur, McLanahan, and Powers (1992) also showed a
tremendous difference in student perspectives about high
school graduation. Those who had mothers who only went
to high school versus those whose mothers went on to
college placed a much lower value on high school
graduation (43% and 76%, respectively) A similar effect
was found with students' fathers' educational level (35%
and 85%, respectively) Parents affect the long-term
educational goals of adolescents.
Dorabusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts and Fraleigh
(1987) showed that pure authoritative families had a
strong relationship with high adolescent academic
performance while permissive parenting was negatively
associated with academic achievement. Brown, Mounts,
Lambom, and Steinberh (1993) demonstrated that parents
52


have a high influence on their adolescent's goals but
have a lower influence on their behaviors.
The recent trend toward parent disengagement with
their children is alarming. Steinberg (1996) indicated
that over half of high school students can bring home a
"C" without their parent(s) being concerned, and that
only one-fifth of parents attend school programs on a
regular basis, while more than 40% of parents never
attend at all.
Peers
Findings differ about peer influence on student
perspectives. In Echert's (1989) study of jocks and
burnouts, corporate norms associated with jocks were
positively valued and rewarded, while the noncooperative
norms associated with burnouts were stigmatized and
discouraged. As a result, the school provided a social
regimentation in which particular values and interests
restricted each individual to a well-defined place in the
institution and in the adolescent community, rather than
an open community in which individuals can explore their
53


values and pursue their own interests. This student
categorization influences perspective.
Brown and Trujillo (1985) supported this work by
identifying subcultures in high schools. They believe
the peer microsystem becomes increasingly strong,
especially within the walls of the institution, when only
peers are present. This microsystem has a large effect
on behavior, academic effort and attitudes throughout the
school day.
Theoretical principles have been developed about the
formation of adolescent friendships. Kandel (1986)
discussed the selection and socialization process while
Dunphy (1980) identified social structures and common
patterns of age change in social groups. Dunphy
disagreed with Trujillo's work on a subculture formation
of 11 distinct groups, because he feels that subcultures
develop according to a friendship, clique, crowd, and
larger crowd pattern.
There is a definite connection between peer pressure
and student behaviors. This is a much stronger
relationship than peer groups to academic achievement
54


(Clasen, Brown & Eicher, 1986). Goodenow and Grady
(1993) studied the relationship between identification
with school, friends' values and academic motivation, and
found that a sense of belonging to and pleasing the
school was a greater motivator for student learning than
was the value of friends. Steinberg and Silverberg
(1986) also found that girls have a higher resistance to
peer pressure than boys in regards to academic
achievement.
While ethnicity/race, social class/socio-economic status
and past academic failure or success were not included as
questions in the interview done in this study, they were
included in the demographic quotas that were met when
selecting study participants. In this way, past research
and conclusions from this study could be compared
regarding these three factors.
Ethnicity/Race
Steinberg (1996) studied academic achievement
patterns of different ethnicities with the following
findings:
55


1. Asian children with authoritarian parents perform the
highest;
2. Black and Latino students' lack of achievement is
based more on culture than a lack of parent expectations;
3. Black and Latino children with parent support equal to
that given to whites and Asians do not progress as much
as their counterparts; and
4. The biggest factor is not ethnicity, but the amount of
engagement with the child's education in which the
parents participate (pp. 136, 137).
Blacks tend to feel they are graded unfairly. In
the Profile of the American High School Senior (1992),
71% of blacks felt they were graded fairly in comparison
to 77% of Asians and Hispanics and 79% of whites. They
also had the lowest percentage in viewing teachers as
being interested in them as students. However, Voelkl's
(1996) study showed blacks identifying with school as
much as whites. A study by Graham (1994) found that
black males had more positive self regard and higher
expectations for their future than white males. Mahoney
and Merritt (1993) found that the majority of all
56


students want to go to college, but more blacks than
whites expect disappointment. Quiroz (1997) found that
Latino students' autobiographies demonstrated that the
connection between education and future career was not
well-developed for most students, and without that
connection, they will be unable to tolerate the anxiety
that schooling necessarily engenders. Therefore, Latino
students develop a "defeated self."
High school students want to be in a safe cultural
environment and move confidently among groups (Bilides,
1990). Students want to be comfortable in their school.
As to high Asian achievement, Peng (1993) found that
this was due more to the high rate of two-parent intact
families and high parental expectations than to parents
assisting with homework or other forced requirements.
Social Class/Socio-economic Status .
Many studies have been done examining the strength
of ethnicity versus socio-economic status as the largest
indicator of academic achievement. Brantlinger (1992)
has done extensive work in this area, and found that low
57


socio-economic status students have the following student
perspectives:
1. Some strive for success but when it does not take
place, they blame themselves;
2. Others feel utterly hopeless and blame the system;
3 They tend to lack viable dreams so they verbalize the
watered-down dreams of their high-income classmates; and
4. They offer unrealistic plans and expect to maintain
second-class status (p. 282) .
These thoughts lead to a belief in unequal opportunity
that decreases motivation. Choosing the low track leads
to poor class choices and counselors who tend to be
unwilling to give enough guidance toward valid working-
class, blue-collar jobs (Oakes and Guiton, 1995, p. 290) .
When a certain school culture is defined with
certain race, ethnicity and social class characteristics,
curriculum is then often pre-set to that population's
academic expectations, and students are denied the
advanced classes and other opportunities that are offered
in the wealthier school sites (Oakes, 1995). More
58


students of low socio-economic status feel that they are
graded unfairly than do students of high socio-economic
status (8% difference) (Profile, 1992).
Past Academic Success/Failure
What perceptions do students need in order to want
to stay in school? Factors mentioned in this review have
been warm, caring teachers, teachers who understood their
needs, a belief in an economic future, relevancy of the
coursework, and many others. Motivation for grades often
comes from personal reasons, family/peer influence, and
external rewards (Hughes and Orr, 1989) Variables that
affect academic success include family socio-economic
status, parental expectations, non-English-speaking
background, and gender. Ainley, Foreman, and Sheret
(1991) found that two intervening aspects that schools
can control beyond these outside school variables are
student achievement level in school and student
perceptions of the quality of school life. "The
intervening variables are envisaged as attributes of
students shaped by their experiences at school* (p. 78) .


The study also found that proper tracking and quality
vocational programs play a major role in students'
achievement perspectives.
Castejon and Vera-Munoz (1996) determined that the
variables of socio-economic status, intelligence,
previous achievement, motivation, self-concept, and the
perception students have about the school process were
the key variables to student success (p. 21).
Dating, Jobs, etc.
Seniors have less peer influence on their personal
perspectives because many have left the crowd and are
into dating relationships (Brown, 1995). Working
students have also often changed their perspectives on
their schooling process. Steinberg's (1996) study found
that students who worked more than 20 hours per week
earned lower grades, spent less time on homework, cheated
more, cut class more frequently, and had lower
educational expectations.
Although this study focused on in-school
experiences, interview Question 15 did ask about the
60


I
\
\
school addressing individual needs, which elicited some
responses from students about outside commitments such as
jobs. Question 18, about peer group influence, also
resulted in some students mentioning their
boyfriend/girlfriend as an influential factor on their
respect of school.
Summary
How has the institution reacted to these student
perspectives? In general, it has not reacted at all.
Farrar, Powell, and Cohen (1985) discussed high school as
a shopping mall where students were allowed to make
whatever selections they wished. They also felt that
top-down reform usually does not address the question of
what students have actually learned but instead
emphasizes superficial symbols of learning, such as grade
point average and earned credits. Schools are attempting
to project students' voices and their needs without a
process to consult them. The new standards movement did
not elicit much student input, although emphasis is now
being placed on what is learned rather than on what is
61
i


presented by teachers. Hopefully, this will be a major
step toward student accountability and increased
engagement.
Other important long-term high school in-house
studies were done by Boyer (1983) and Sizer (1992).
Boyer's research, which included participant observation
for three week periods in several high schools around the
country, did not include a section on student
perspectives. However, he did mention centrality of
language and schedule flexibility as a need for students.
Sizer's study mentioned some remedies for improved
student engagement. They were:
1. smaller teacher/student ratio,
2. demonstrations of student progress,
3 varied styles of teaching,
4. 'respect' being shown for students,
5. tougher substance in the curriculum, and
6. more thoughtful places to study.
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Summarizing student perspectives on their high
school experiences is difficult, but in general students
are more positive than negative about their experiences.
This literature review ends with students giving
their perspectives about some improvements that could be
helpful to their school experiences:
1. Learning is fragmented and abstract; we wish to be
actively engaged (Comfort, 1997);
2. We want more problem-centered experiences (Comfort,
1997) ;
3 We perceive relationships with teachers as distant
(Comfort, 1997);
4. Principals and teachers worry too much about control
(Comfort, 1997);
5. Divisions of students seem to be by race, class, and
where they live (Comfort, 1997);
6. We would like to work in blocks of time that fit the
activity (Comfort, 1997) ;
7. We want less ability grouping (Comfort, 1997);
8. Jocks and college bound students get all the
attention (Phelan et al., 1994);
63


9. Hall monitors make me feel like I'm in prison
(Phelan, 1992); and
10. Why am I learning this? (Phelan, 1992)
Students from all achievement levels and socio-
cultural backgrounds want to succeed and want to be in an
environment where it is possible to do so. Behind the
public mask of nonchalance or "coolness" some students
wear to hide their anxiety about the future is a desire
to do well and some realization of the consequences of
not making the grade (Phelan, 1992) .
64


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
The purpose of this study was to obtain high school
seniors' perceptions about respect for many aspects of
their entire high school experience. This study also
obtained students' perspectives about reasons for their
respect or lack of respect for these aspects. This was
accomplished through open-ended interviewing of a diverse
sampling of students from five high school sites. The
study examined these feelings of respect through
considering the following five basic research questions:
1. General respect: a. What do students generally
respect and not respect most about their overall high
school experience, and how is that respect determined?
b. Do site, academic performance, ethnicity, and gender
relate to their perspectives?
2. Respect for specific components of experience:
a. What do students generally respect and not respect
65


about specific components of the educational experience,
and how is that determined? Components examined in this
study included quality of teaching, required courses,
required credits, extracurricular activities, rules and
procedures, relevancy to future ambitions, availability
of classes, academic challenge and individual needs being
addressed. b. Do site, academic performance, ethnicity,
and gender relate to their respect of these components?
3. Students' perceptions of reciprocal respect:
a. Do students feel respected by the high school, and how
do they determine this respect? b. Do site, academic
performance, ethnicity, and gender relate to their
respect of these components?
4. Influence of family and peers on respect:
a. What influence do students perceive that families and
peers have upon their respect for their high school
experiences, and how is that influence determined? b. Do
site, academic performance, ethnicity, and gender relate
to their respect of these components?
5 Seniors' recommendations: What recommendations would
seniors make for improving their high school experiences?
66


Site Selection
Five high schools were chosen in a metropolitan area
in the western United States. The student population at
each high school ranged from 1000 to 2500 students.
Location, ethnicity, and socio-economic status were
considered in site selection in order to obtain a diverse
population of students who reflected a wide range of
characteristics. The use of five sites which differ in
many aspects increased the likelihood that results of
this study would reflect widely varied viewpoints. The
high schools of students participating in this study were
from two school districts.
Several criteria were selected to ensure the
greatest possible diversity of responses. The following
descriptions of each site indicate the diversity achieved
through careful site selection.
Site one: suburban, mixed ethnicities, average socio-
economic status
Site two: suburban, primarily Caucasian, high socio-
economic status


Site three: suburban, mixed ethnicities, average socio-
economic status
Site four: urban, primarily black, low socio-economic
status
Site five: urban, primarily Hispanic, low socio-economic
status
Sample Population
The total sample consisted of 60 seniors, 12 from
each site. Two variables were considered in obtaining
the sample of students. The first variable was gender,
and the second was class rank. At each site an even
number of males and females were chosen. The sampling of
12 at each site included 4 students from each of the
upper, middle, and lower fifths of their class rank.
This ranking was determined by grade point averages.
Seniors were given a letter (Appendix C) containing
information about the study and requesting that they
indicate, in the fall, an interest in participating in
the study. Students who expressed an interest in the
study were given a letter (Appendix C) that explained
68


confidentiality rights and the purpose of their
participation in the research study. Both student and
parent signatures were required on th.e letter if the
student was under the age of 18. If the student was age
18 or older, only his/her signature was required.
Names were drawn at each site using a random
selection process until the criteria of balanced gender
and class rank were satisfied. While ethnicity was not a
factor in the selection process of students, it was an
aspect of site selection. Thus, the possibility was high
that the random selection of students would produce an
ethnic representation closely matching that of the
school.
Interview Process
The interview process began in January and ended by
early May of the students' senior year. Sites were
completed one at a time, in the order on page 65 and from
left to right on the statistical tables. Student
interviews were conducted individually in no particular
order by gender or class rank. Interviews were conducted
69
I


in the school counseling office. The only two present in
the room were the researcher and the student being
interviewed.
Interviews were conducted according to a
questionnaire format (Appendix A) and sometimes became
quite lengthy. The estimated time for each interview was
forty-five to sixty minutes. Students were pulled out of
class for this research, with arrangements for their
absence being made in advance through the schools'
counseling offices. The counselors attempted to schedule
students for their interviews during a free or non-
academic period to minimize learning disruptions. Each
student was interviewed alone. Questions were asked in
the same order to all students.
The researcher conducted the individual interviews
at the site using a small cassette recorder for
discussion answers, along with the actual questionnaire
for filling in Likert-type scale responses. Discussion
following the Likert-type scale questions was not noted
during the interviews but was transcribed and coded at a
later time. Each evening, after completing an interview,
70


the researcher noted certain characteristics from each
interview that stood out. A transcriber was hired to
assist in the transcription and coding process. Students
did not receive a questionnaire but were given a single
sheet of paper on which to rank the items in Question 5.
Assurances and Confidentiality
As noted earlier, a letter was sent to seniors about
the research study with a parental permission slip
attached (Appendix C) Once they volunteered and
submitted the proper paper work, participants were placed
into the random sampling process. All information from
the interviews was kept confidential.
During the visit at the school site, the researcher
did not dialogue with staff about student responses.
When the research was completed, the researcher returned
to sites that requested an inservice training with the
faculty, administration, building accountability or other
interested school groups. The principal and counselor's
office of each school received the anonymous results of
that school's interviews during the summer following the
71


interviews. A copy of the entire dissertation will be
offered to each participating high school and school
district.
Questionnaire Rationale
The interview protocol is the "heart and soul" of
this study. The following section contains a description
of, and the rationale behind, each set of interview
questions. Rationale for each question includes
references to previous research work. These questions
were written by the researcher in this study and evolved
from consideration of the importance of student respect
and the student-defined important aspects of their school
experience. These considerations were developed by
examining previous studies (as explained in the
literature review). This led to the development of the
components used in this study (Questions 7-15). This
study was an exploratory, descriptive study that
implemented the constant comparison method of first
comparing responses applicable to each category, then
integrating the categories and their properties until


responses were assigned a category. Two researchers
cross-examined the responses.
Questions 1-4
1. What do you respect most about your high school
experiences ?
2. Of the areas mentioned above, which three do you
respect the most and why?
3 What do you respect least about your high school
experiences ?
4. Of the areas mentioned above, which three do you
respect the least and why?
These first four qualitative questions from the
beginning of the interview session were patterned partly
after the research of (Hughes, 1989; Mallory, 1962;
Silberman, 1971; Phelan, 1992).
Students were given the opportunity in these first
four questions to identify which aspects of their school
experiences they respected or did not respect. These
questions were asked first to insure that the researcher
did not direct the subjects' cognitive processes. The
first questions were designed for students to list both
73


positive and negative aspects of their school
experiences. Responses could include comments about
social, academic, or any other aspect of school
experiences about which students wished to comment.
Questions 5-15
5. Looking at this list, please rank according to which
you respect the most and least in this high school. Give
a one to the highest item and a nine to the lowest.
_____ Quality of the teachers
_____ Specific courses needed to graduate
_____ Credits needed to graduate
_____ Extracurricular activities
_____ Rules and procedures of the school
_____ Relevancy of high school to future ambitions
_____ Choice of courses you can take while in high
school
_____ Academic challenge of your classes
_____ Individual needs being addressed at the school
Next we are going to rate and discuss each of the
above items separately. On these items, ten is a high
rating and one is a low rating.
74


Rationale for these components is listed under each
Likert-type scaled question (6-18) in this section.
6. On a scale of one to ten (one being low and ten high)
how do you rate your overall level of respect for your
high school? _____ Discuss.
Respect was found to be an important word used by
students (Stern, 1979; Arter, 1987; Gottfredson, 1984;
Deiro, 1994; Rudduck et al., 1996).
7. On a scale of one to ten (one being low and ten high)
how do you rate your overall level of respect for the
quality of teachers in your high school? _____ Discuss.
What constitutes effective teaching is an ongoing
research area that includes the studies of (Hughes, 1989;
Young, 1999; Tell, 1983; Rudduck et al., 1996).
8. Think about the classes that you need to take to
graduate. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you
respect needing to take these particular classes to get
your diploma? ____ Discuss.
Students indicate a solid grasp of educational needs
for tomorrow by the subjects they view as most important
(Scotter, 1994).
75


9. The school has a certain number of credits required
in order to get a diploma. On a scale of one to ten,
what is your respect level for the number of credits
required by your school to get a diploma? _____ Discuss.
Students have a wide range of perspectives concerning
required credits (Hughes, 1989; Tell, 1983; Catterall,
1991; Clark and Astuto, 1994).
10. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level
of respect for the extracurricular activities at your
school. ____ Discuss.
Activities have a mixed review from students (Echert,
1989; Jacobs, 1989; Steinberg, 1996; Goldberg and
Chandler, 1989).
11. As a high school student you have many rules and
procedures which you must follow as a student. On a
scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level of
respect for the rules and procedures of your school?
____ Discuss.
School safety is usually on most school opinion
instruments (Soo Hoo, 1993; Sternberg, 1996).
76


12. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level
of respect for the relevancy of this high school to your
future ambitions? _____ Discuss.
Students who achieve at different levels don't always
see the relevancy of school (Baksh and Martin, 1984;
Murtaugh, 1988; Anderson, 1995).
13. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level
of respect for the availability of classes offered at
your school? (We are not discussing the quality of those
classes, only the availability of them.) _____ Discuss.
Course selection has always been important to high
school students (Clark and Astuto, 1994; Hughes, 1989;
Chase, 1982).
14. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level
of respect for the intellectual/academic challenge of the
classes you have taken? _____ Discuss.
General consensus is that many students feel learning
is fragmented and abstract (Comfort, 1997; Rudduck et
al., 1996).
77
i


15. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your level
of respect for how much your school addresses your
individual needs? ____ Discuss.
How well large schools can meet students' individual
needs has always been important (Chase, 1982; Phelan,
1994; Clark: and Astuto, 1994) .
Questions 5-15 were designed to provide the
researcher with key information about specific issues
regarding the improvement of schools. Question five
required students to rank experiences, in terms of
respect. It was placed prior to questions 6-15 so that
students' ranking of experiences would precede their
discussion of the same experiences in questions 6-15.
The Likert-type scale responses from questions 6-15
allowed for comparison of responses by gender, site,
ethnicity and levels of academic success.
Questions 6-15 addressed issues that are relevant to
high school improvement and reform efforts. These
categories were selected because they are typically found
in student opinion surveys.
78


Question 16
16. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate the
overall respect that you feel the school awards to you?
____ Discuss.
Results from student attitude opinion surveys have
shown that high school students believe a lack of respect
from the institution toward them is a primary
frustration. These opinion surveys did not allow for
discussion. Allowing students to discuss Question 16
provided insights about students' perceptions of the
respect awarded to them by the school. Rationale for
this research question is listed under Question 6.
Questions 17 and 18
17. On this same scale of one to ten, if ten is "a lot"
and one is "none," to what level do your family's
opinions and values affect your level of respect for the
high school? ____ Discuss.
Families have a strong influence on student
attitudes toward school (Chase, 1992; Wajtkiewicz, 1993;
Manski et al., 1992; Dorabush et al., 1987; Brown et al.,
1993) .
79


i
I
18. Do you consider yourself part of a certain
subculture, clique, crowd, etc. of the school? If so,
which one(s)?
Using the same scale as the previous question, if ten is
"a lot" and one is "none," how much does this group
affect your level of respect for the high school?
____ Discuss.
Research studies often examine the influence of
peers upon motivations or behaviors (Brown and Trujillo,
1985; Clasen et al., 1986; Goodenow and Grady, 1993;
Steinberg and Silverberg, 1986).
Respect is gained through the forces that work on
adolescents' values. Questions 17 and 18 let students
reflect upon the selected forces of family and peers that
influence their school perspectives.
Question 19
19. Now that we have discussed several issues dealing
with your respect or lack of respect for your high school
experiences, would you like to mention any additional
aspects of your high school experiences that you strongly
respect or disrespect?
i
80


Question 19 allowed students to conclude their
thoughts on respect for the institution. This allowed
respondents to share any additional insights after
responding to the previous questions.
Question 20
20. This will be the final question. If you were in a
position of authority such as that of a principal or
school board member, what changes would you make to
improve the life of high school students both
educationally and socially?
The purpose in asking this was to elicit information
that may be helpful to educators. High school
improvement needs student voice, as indicated in the
studies of (Rudduck et al., 1996; Hargreaves, 1997;
Castejon and Vera-Munoz, 1996).
The final two questions were for the sake of open
discussion and were not scaled. Responses to Question 19
were placed in the categories created by Questions 1-4.
Responses to Question 20 are summarized in Table 4.37.
81


Data Analysis Methods
Several types of data analyses were conducted. The
two main types were:
1. A qualitative-based narrative discussion based
on the codification of all responses, with the exception
of Question 5. A table summarizes the results of the
ranks given in response to Question 5.
2. A quantitative statistical comparison of mean
responses to all Likert-type scaled questions (6-18), by-
academic achievement levels, ethnicity, school site,
culture, and gender. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was
run to check for the probability of a type one error in
the relationship between variables.
A general discussion about influences upon student
perspectives resulted from responses to Questions 17 and
18. This was separate from the discussion about general
and specific perspectives of students about respect.
The following natural groupings occurred as the data
were analyzed:
82


Questions 1-4
The analyses of responses to these questions addressed
the recurring themes of what students generally respect
and do not respect about their high school experiences.
Questions 5 and 6
Students ranked and rated areas of schooling according to
importance to their life goals and discussed their
overall respect level for their school.
Questions 7-15
A separate discussion for each of these questions
occurred in the analysis of findings in order to address
the specific educational issues that these questions
examined. These issues are quality of teaching, required
courses, required credits, extracurricular activities,
rules and procedures, relevancy to future ambitions,
availability of classes, academic challenge and
individual needs being addressed.
Question 16
Through discussion and quantitative analysis, the concept
of the reciprocity of respect between the student and the
83


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