Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

William P. Foster, EdD, Director; Patricia A. Lowry, PhD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


adolescents, behavioral modifications, comprehensive high school, education, Phenomenology, truancy


This dissertation was a phenomenological study of eight students in a comprehensive high school who exhibited symptoms of truancy. Student interviews, student journals, and field notes were examined and the content analyzed. Students who began to display a truancy pattern and who have displayed symptoms of truancy in a previous school year were selected from a stratified random sample. Students were chosen to represent the ethnic and gender percentages of their school. During the first months of truancy, behavior modification steps were applied to the students which incorporated successful elements of major exemplary truancy programs. These students having not responded to such behavior modifications were interviewed and asked to maintain journals in which they introspectively addressed issues that result in truancy. The students' perceptions and experiences were the expert data on which the study was based. From this data, the phenomenon of truancy as it was defined by the subjects was analyzed through a narrowing process specific to phenomenological research. After a review of the literature on the topic of attendance and truancy, it was determined that very little had been written to address the individual human element contained in the phenomenon of truancy. This dissertation researched truancy from the truant's point of view. It was an attempt to humanize the definition of what it means to be a truant. The findings of the study suggest that an absent/truant pattern identifies potential dropouts. In addition, an absent/truant pattern suggests that students experience personal life problems, school related problems, or peer pressures. Each subject of this study displayed truant symptoms directly related to personal life problems, school related problems, or peer pressures. At times, students experienced combined influences. This research suggests that school officials closely monitor truancy patterns and identify individual problems if dropout prevention is to be a reality.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access