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Class Tardiness Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 22nd, 2020


Class tardiness has remained a perpetual problem throughout the history of learning. Although much literature has been expended over issues of indiscipline within the school system, very little has centered on tardiness mainly evolving around absenteeism, drugs, gang links, gun control and violence.

This study therefore attempts to extend research on class tardiness by discerning the basic questions regarding promptness in school and class attendance by students by initiating a study using 3rd graders at a public school in New Jersey. The methodology applied was action research whereby both students and parents were integrated in the study.

The results were quite remarkable revealing a tremendous turnaround of the tardy students becoming punctual after the introduction of a prompter. The study was however limited by time constraints and lack of independent validation. Nonetheless, the study was instructive and gave indication that the dilemma regarding tardiness can be fairly lessened if not eradicated.

Problem Statement

The issue of class lateness or tardiness has remained an unending topic with teachers and administrators perplexed on how to deal with the phenomenon. I thus resolved to investigate the reasons why this problem of tardiness is so persistent. By unraveling these issues, I hope to propose a more lasting solution to this eternal dilemma hence assist all the stakeholders resolve the predicament.

Conclusion And Recommendations

The general objective of this research is:

  • To determine why students are tardy in school and class attendances.

The specific objectives are:

  • To determine the influence of teachers and school administration in students tardiness
  • To examine the role of family or parents influence on the tendency of students to be tardy.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this action research is to establish why tardiness has persisted to be an incessant problem in learning despite various measures taken by school administrators and teachers to curb it. By applying an inclusive action research methodology, the study can determine how to resolve the problem of tardiness thus assist the various stakeholders plagued by undisciplined students.

Research Questions

After careful review of the available literature and the inherent problem, the following two research questions were determined as most relevant to the study.

  1. Will the alarm clocks initiative have any effect on classroom attendance?
  2. Will seeking the parents’ assistance in the purchase of the alarm clocks happen as expected?

Scope of the Study

Class tardiness and absenteeism remain an infinite quandary ever since the start of schooling. Students arriving late in class constantly reveal a lack of personal commitment, inherent domestic problems, or other psychological problems while disrupting lessons for others. The study applies intervention measures that aims at generating reasonable prognosis of how to reduce or eradicate the problem as identified.

Literature Review

Within our school system, teachers and school administrators have always tackled the issue of class tardiness and absenteeism though the latter has being deemed more urgent due to incidents of drug abuse, gang enrollment and gun violence. Nevertheless, the issue of tardiness continues to plague many schools as school and class attendance rates continue being high in most jurisdictions.

Tardy students tend to disrupt the whole class thus also affecting the grades of punctual students. This is particularly significant since interruptions are at the beginning of the lessons when as Wong (2004) explains is the most crucial time for students to disseminate lessons.

Slavin (2003) consequently emphasizes the importance of teachers setting the tone for lessons during the start of the lesson. Most analysts therefore agree that tardiness is great disrupter of learning and is the precursor for future tardy behavior for the culprits (Eggen and Kauchak, 2005), (Wong, 2004), (Wolfgang, 2001), (McKeachie and Svinicki, 2005).

A study by MacNeil and Prater (2001) revealed that, “both principals and teachers viewed absenteeism and tardiness as their most serious problems” (p. 5). The authors thus proposed for all stakeholders to take a more proactive role in enforcing discipline within schools in view of the escalating problem.

Being punctual is not only an obligation for students, but also a part of personal etiquette, reverence, character, significance, and valuable while tardiness reveals a lack of dedication by the student to learning.

With class tardiness becoming a habit rather than an exception, Wolfgang (2001) has asserted that the onus is on teachers to instill discipline in class that can greatly reduce issues of tardy students.

However, Wong (2004) has a different view arguing that cases of tardy students should be left to natural ending whereby the students will be forced by circumstances to change their attitude for the better.

Wong thus insist grades should not be used as a deterrent but rather other approaches like awarding certificates with students being made aware of the import of punctuality and potential rewards rather than the negativity aspects.

Eggen and Kauchak (2001) are also against extreme severe punishments for tardiness since some students are sometimes quite ignorant of their actions. However, they assert discipline must be upheld and the intervention timely and consistent to make the student aware of the need to be punctual. Lack of proper class management can lead to severe state of tardiness becoming the norm rather the exception.

Wong (2004) who reemphasize the critical years of adolescence when the child’s future is molded to be vital for all time supports this argument. Eggen and Kauchak (2001) have also emphasized the need for teachers to be effective role models for the students, as incidences of their own tardiness will be generally mirrored by the children.

Dai and Sternberg (2004) have reiterated the need to motivate students to shun being tardy. Charles (2005) advocates for evoking “curiosity as the greatest motivator for learning” (p. 103). This makes learning exciting by means of diversity and freshness in the lessons in class

. Students can be motivated to compete against other classes and with each other as an impetus to advance their class attendance and boost grades. Slavin (2003) thus agrees that exiting classrooms can be tremendous motivators for students who will be eager to get the next lesson hence will be always punctual.


The design of this study was classroom action research. Hendricks (2009) defines this type of action research as that used by teachers within their classrooms for the proposed express purpose of enhancing performance. Through the action research process, ideas gained from the study can be shared with colleagues.

The research centered on the three classes of 3rd graders in the school which the researcher labeled as Class X, Y, and Z to avoid bias and hence create anonymity.

Limitations of the Study

The researcher was limited by the lack of control of the main instrument for the survey, the alarm clock that was to be operated by the subject students hence offering instances of neglect or ignorance.

The study was also dependent on the cooperation of the parents and fellow teachers thus leaving the researcher reliant on their expediency. Lastly, time constraints limited the research in generating sufficient ground for a conclusive hypothesis.


This chapter has introduced the research topic, the scope of the study, the research questions, methodology used, the limitations to the study, and the literature review.

The next chapter will center on a comprehensive literature review.


Charles, C. M. (2005). Building classroom discipline (8th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, 97-98, 103, 136-137.

Dai, D. Y., Sternberg, R. J. (2004). Motivation, emotion, and cognition: Integrative perspectives on intellectual functioning and development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 11-14, 198, 304.

Eggen, P., Kauchak, D. (2001). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall, 220-223, 238-239, 243-245, 468-469, 498-499, 507.

McKeachie, W. J., Svinicki, M. (2005) McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research and theory for college and university teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall, 124-127, 136-137, 141-147, 226-227.

MacNeil, Angus J. and Prater, Doris (2001). Teachers and Principals Differ On the Seriousness of School Discipline: A National Perspective. Clear Lake: University of Houston.

Slavin, R. E. (2003). Educational psychology: theory and practice (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 97, 369-377, 508.

Wolfgang, C. H. (2001). Solving discipline and classroom management problems: Methods and models for today’s teachers (5th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley, 85-88, 233-235, 243.

Wong, H. K. (2004). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountainview, CA: Harry K. Wong, 133-135.

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