Skip to main content

The bell has rung; where are my students?: A study of tardy control systems in a high school

1 June 1997


The purpose of this qualitative study was to evaluate current and proposed tardy control systems, and to distinguish which systems had the most influence on student punctuality. There are many different systems for controlling tardiness. I found through observation that most systems were unique to the teacher's preference.

Through my research I found that tardy control systems could be classified into several distinct groupings. These groups consisted of punishment systems, reward systems, and counseling systems. Along with exploring these areas, I felt It was vital to look at the tardiness system through the eyes of the student.

The study took place at an urban high school located in the Pacific Northwest. The participants ranged from sophomores to seniors with an emphasis on upper classmen. Information was gathered in the classroom through a variety of methodological approaches including observations and anonymous written surveys. Three teachers also submitted their thoughts on the tardy system in place at their school and its influence on the learning environment. In order to protect the participants' rights to privacy and anonymity I have provided pseudonyms for all known participants in this study.

After collecting and organizing extensive written survey responses, it became clear that the students' perception of tardiness was quite different than the teachers'. My research revealed that the students' attitude toward a teacher greatly influenced their decision to arrive to class on time. Moreover, if the students anticipated a boring lecture, or anticipated that nothing would be accomplished during the class period, they would choose to skip the class entirely.


Files are restricted to Pacific University. Sign in to view.