Guidelines in implementing a school uniform policy
Implementing the school uniform policy whether voluntary or mandatory must be in accordance to the Manual on School Uniforms authored by the Education Commission of the States. According to the Education Commission of the States (1996), there are seven steps to achieve a successful implementation of the policy. First will involve the parents whose primary concern is the safety and discipline of their children. Therefore the school administration should coordinate and work closely with the students’ parents since their approval to the program will ensure sustainability of the policy.
Second, the policy should respect the religious rights of some students who might be burdened by wearing school uniforms. Third, it must have flexibility towards students’ creative expression of students. It must allow for wearing or displaying excessive items as long as it will not be a cause for stringent disciplinary action. Fourth, students must be able to exercise their freedom to choose the circumstances in which they will wear their uniforms.
Fifth, the policy should not require their students to wear uniforms with substantive political messages. Sixth, the school should extend financial assistance to indigent families. Seventh, the institution should regard and explain to the students that the uniform policy is a part of the school’s integrated safety program. Literature on the perceptions of students on the school uniform policy Studies on the opinion of American students on the school uniform policy are very few compared to that on teachers, principals, and parents.
Therefore there exists a research gap on this area. Stanley (1996) as cited in Rodriguez (2005) determined the perceptions of students, teachers, principals and school administrators in K-8 in the Long Beach Unified School District and noted that there more adults than students perceived a safe school environment because of the implementation of the school uniform policy. Ironically, no clear evidence would substantiate that school-related violence was reduced as a result of the policy.
Murray (1997) came to a conclusion that the policy had a significant impact on the school climate as perceived by the middle school students in the Charleston, SC, County School District. In the study of Stevenson and Chun (as cited in Brunsma, 2002), 69% of grades 5-11 in the District of Columbia did not approve of the policy. In a survey conducted in six different regions in the country, 80% of students voted No to the school uniform policy. Stockton, Gullatt and Parke (2002) found that elementary and middle school students regarded the school uniform policy to be important compared to high school students.
Bruce (2004) as cited in Rodriguez (2005) noted that students conflicted on how they felt about the school uniform policy because the respondents did not enjoy wearing the prescribed uniform but saw its usefulness. Conclusions The dearth of literature on the perceptions of students on the school uniform policy has motivated the researcher to add scientific input into this highly contested policy in the American educational system. Moreover, this study will hinge itself on the role theory, developmental theory, and the pygmalion effect to further elucidate the inclination on the perceptions of middle students with regard to the policy.
Chapter 3. Methodology Research Design The study will follow a descriptive, quantitative, cross-sectional research method designed to determine the perceptions of the sample population to the effects of the school uniform policy in Southport Middle School. The research is also expected to link the perceptions on the effects of the proposed school uniform policy on safety and discipline among middle school students with demographic variables such as age, gender, monthly household income, racial background, and membership in groups.
Responses will be obtained through self-administration of questionnaires to the target key informants. The study will be conducted at South port Middle School which has a student population of 1,216 students. Sampling Design Because the student population in Southport Middle School has a large variability with reference to these selected demographic factors, a stratified random sampling procedure will be carried out to ensure that different categories are fairly represented in the sample.
In this sampling procedure, the student population will first divided into homogenous groups with reference to a specific demographic characteristic. From each of the stratum, samples will be drawn randomly. It is therefore necessary to obtain a cross tabulation of gender and racial background of the population. Once this information is established, percent distribution will be computed by dividing the frequency of each category by the total population. This will be the percent representativeness for each category in the cross-tabulation.
After which, the sample size will be determined using the table of sample sizes using 5% margin of error. Because the total population is 1,216, number of samples to be selected will be 291. The percent representativeness in each category will then be multiplied to the sample size to determine the number of respondents under each stratum in the cross-tabulation. Each student will be assigned a number and using a table of random numbers, the samples will be drawn without replacement.
Measures The researcher will construct a questionnaire-checklist that determines the perceptions of middle school students on the effects of the proposed school uniform policy on safety and discipline in Southport Middle School using the Comprehensive Assessment of School Environments, School Climate Survey (CASE) and Inventory of School Climate-Student (ISC-S) as references. It will be comprised of two parts, namely: demographic profile of the respondent and the questionnaire proper.
In the first section, the student will be asked to encircle the answer that best reflects their demographic information comprising of age, gender, monthly household income, racial background, and membership in groups. In the questionnaire proper, there will be ten questions each for the safety and discipline perceptions. The responses will depend on the students’ degree of agreement or disagreement to the statements using a Likert-type scale as follows: 5- Strongly agree, 4- Agree, 3 – Undecided, 2 – Disagree, 1 – Strongly disagree.
The respondents will be directed to read the statements carefully then check the box corresponding their answer. Prior to administration of the data gathering tool, it will undergo face validity and pilot testing to determine reliability. Face validity will involve twelve raters who will pass judgment on the relevance of the items in the modified questionnaire-checklist comprising of three school administrators, faculty members, educational specialists, and parents. After careful analysis of their comments on the draft, necessary revisions will be made to fine tune the instrument.
The revised checklist will then be pilot tested to selected middle school students from a nearby school to establish its reliability coefficient. Data Collection Before conducting the study, permission will first be secured from the Dean of the Graduate School after approval of the research proposal by the Oral Examination Panel of the University. After which another letter will be addressed to the Principal of Southport Middle School in St. Lucie County stating the intention of the investigator to conduct the research at the said institution.
The researcher shall set a meeting with the school administration and faculty members to discuss the details of the study which will require their cooperation and participation most specifically during data collection. Once the schedule for data gathering is finalized, list of middle school students currently enrolled will be procured from the Principal’s Office so that stratified random sampling would be done prior to data gathering. This secondary data will serve as the sampling frame for this study.
All those selected will receive written notifications that they will be part of the school-based survey. In coordination with the classroom advisers, the participants will be asked to proceed to the school auditorium so questionnaire administration can be done. Questionnaires will be self-administered and immediately retrieved to ensure 100% response rate. Before the questionnaires will be distributed, the researcher will first define the purpose of the study and directions in answering.
The responses will then be entered into the computer system and subjected to the appropriate statistical techniques which are a combination of both descriptive and inferential measures. Data Analysis After administering the questionnaires, responses will be tabulated and analyzed using the appropriate approaches in data analysis. To answer the first objective which is on the profile of the respondents, frequency and percentage will be obtained. For the second problem, response means will be computed for individual statements for safety and discipline perceptions. Overall means for both will also be ascertained.
In order to interpret the mean in each statement, its verbal description is dependent on the magnitude of its numerical value. If the statement recorded a mean of 1. 00-1. 80, it will indicate that the respondent strongly disagreed; 1. 81-2. 60, disagree; 2. 61-3. 40, undecided; 3. 41-4. 20, agree; and 4. 21-5. 00, strongly agree. For negatively worded statements, scoring of items will be reversed. Statistical differences in the means will be determined using Analysis of Variance and t-test for Independent Sample for multiple and two-level variables respectively.
Internal Validity This research is expected to test the hypothesis that no significant difference exists in the perceptions of middle school students on the effects of the proposed school uniform policy on safety and discipline at 95% level of confidence by age, gender, monthly household income, racial background, and membership in groups. Thus, there is a high degree of certainty that the outcome is attributed to the variables that will be measured. External Validity
The research has high external validity because the sampling method will ensure that representative samples will be obtained from the population. In this way there would be no gender and racial bias that will be introduced resulting from sampling discrepancies. Peer Review Discussion A peer review of the study shall be conducted at the start of the data gathering phase until completion of this research. Two experts on the field will provide expert opinion on the methods used and the data gathered to establish research credibility.
Expected Findings School districts across the country are considering school uniform policies because they appear to provide ready solutions to some of the aspects of school safety, gang violence, weapons in school, and assaults associated with theft of expensive clothing. In this study, it is anticipated that the null hypothesis will be rejected and the research perceptions of safety and discipline among students are affected by the implementation of school uniform policies, will be supported. Ethical Issues
In this study beneficence will be applied, which obligates the researcher to protect participants from harm as well as minimize risks resulting from the research. Confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity shall also be taken into account. The researcher will make adequate provisions to ensure that participant’s identities will not be revealed during the course of the research or dissemination of study outcomes. Then, the students will be asked to fill the Informed Consent which will inform them that their participation is voluntary and that they will not receive any monetary reward of any kind in exchange of their participation.
Conclusion This descriptive, quantitative, cross-sectional study seeks to explore the perceptions of middle school students in Southport Middle School on the effects of the school uniform policy on safety and discipline. The data to be collected from the survey which will be the responses towards the modified versions of the Comprehensive Assessment of School Environments, School Climate Survey (CASE) and Inventory of School Climate-Student (ISC-S) shall be analyzed statistically employing both descriptive and inferential tools.
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