Being always present in class and getting to school on time are two of the crucial determining factors of a student’s success, not just as a student but as a person who will be managing his/her own life in the future. Given the importance of being punctual, this study aims to explore and find out the factors that affect the punctuality of UP students. In this chapter, we will be discussing about the background of our study. It includes facts about tardiness, the different factors that causes it and its effect to the students as students and as bearer of their own lives in the future.
From reliable research materials like online journals and research papers, we will provide some facts and theories from authors, teachers and notable people in order to have a concrete justification of our study. First, we will give a definition of tardiness and present some theories and facts about it. Next, we will discuss he various factors that causes the students to come to school late, the psychological theories, the observation of the teachers and the personal reasons of the students. Lastly, the effects of tardiness to students, not just to himself/herself but also to his/her future and to other people, will be discussed.
As UP students, we are expected to perform well with excellence in everything that we do, most especially in the academic aspect. One factor that dictates the quality of performance of a student is his/her punctuality that is, getting to school on time or being tardy. As cited by Nakpodia and Dafiaghor (2011), “lateness” can be defined as the “situation where an individual arrives after the proper, scheduled or usual time (Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary, 5th ed., 1995), Lauby (2009) puts it as a term used to describe “people not showing up on time” and Breeze et al. (2010) contributed by saying that, lateness is synonymous with “tardiness”, which implies being slow to act or slow to respond, thus not meeting up with proper or usual timing. Lastly, Weade (2004) defined tardiness as “being late for any measurable length of time past the stated or scheduled start time for work or school.” In most schools, a student is considered tardy when he/she is not present when the school bell rings or when the first teacher starts to give instructional materials for the first subject in the morning class.
One of the most recurring and the most “frustrating problem” that the schools are having with their students nowadays is tardiness (Sprick and Daniels, 2007). It creates problems, not just to the students but also to the teachers (Cowan Avenue Elementary School Community, 2007, para 1). Cowan Crier, the official School Publication of CAESC, also states that while having “occasional tardy” isn’t a big deal, unfailing tardiness is and it gives students problems including being ill-prepared for the job market. According to the results of the study of the U.S. Department of Education on “truancy”, which is related to tardiness, being present and on time in going to school are big factors on the “success and behavior” of the students (Zeiger, 2010, para 1).
Thus, it is a lot important to value time and practice being on time while being a student. According to CAESC (2007) and Zeiger (2010), the most essential learning time of the day for the students lies in the morning, specifically between 8:00 to 9:30 AM. It is because the students are most mindful and observant at this time of the day. It is also the reason why the most important lessons and subject matters are discussed during this time. So when students are late or are not present during this time of the day, they, in effect, miss out most of the important lessons to be noted and learned.
Factors affecting Punctuality
Reasons for being late in class and other factors affecting the punctuality if a student vary. There had been some theories that pointed out that tardiness is caused by the personality of a person. Santillano (2010) stated that psychological theorists considered some “personality traits, including low self-esteem and anxiety” as triggering factors of tardiness (para 2). She also mentioned that while some theorists considered tardiness as an “inborn quality” since our being early or late is “partially biologically determined”, which she also agreed, other experts also believed that some people are “chronically tardy” for the reason that they consciously and unconsciously get good things from it (para 3).
In the book cited by Santillano, “Never be late again: 7 cures for the punctually challenged”, the author Diana DeLonzor suggested that some personality traits could most likely lead to a person being often late. Some of the traits included were “struggling with self control”, “feeling nervous or uncomfortable with social situations” and “getting distracted easily” (para 4). Santillano also discussed about the study conducted by DeLonzor at San Francisco State University in 1997 in which she surveyed 225 respondents about their habits that makes them late from their appointments. It was also a test on the personalities of the respondents that affect their habits.
According to the results of DeLonzor’s study, those respondents that were often tardy apt to be anxious and gets distracted easily. Nakpodia and Dafiaghor attribute lateness or tardiness to a lot of factors or causes. Going late to bed and waking up late next morning are the most common. The authors added film-watching late at night as a cause for tardiness. The student may forget that he/she needs to be in school the next day. The distance between the student’s home and school or solely the school’s location is also considered by Nakpodia and Dafiaghor as a possible cause for tardiness. Not just because it takes more time to get to school, but according to the authors, the student is susceptible to more distractions and hindrances along the way. Parent’s untimely tasks and commands are also reasons that students come late to school. Habitual tardiness can also be learned from other members of the family, especially from the older ones.
Lack of a firm and consistent policy on punctuality also encourages students to come late at school since there are no consequences attached to lateness or tardiness. These causes of tardiness will lead to serious effects. Another study was the one conducted by Enamiroro Oghuvbu in Nigeria. The objective of the study was to determine the causes of the absenteeism and lateness among the secondary students in Nigeria and to seek for solutions to the growing problem. According to Oghuvbu (2008), female students are more likely to be late than male students because of “their involvement in domestic activities by their parents” (para 7). Also, as cited by Oghuvbu, “distance to school, school discipline, family background and school location” (Emore, 2005) are some of the common causes for the tardiness of the secondary students. Oghuvbu collected the data from a sample size of 17, 417 Nigerian respondents from 2005-2006. The sample was made up of 20 principals and 50 each from a set of teachers, parents and students.
The means of collecting data was through a thirty-item questionnaire answerable by either strongly agree (SA), agreed (A), disagree (D), and strongly disagreed (SD). The questionnaire had four questions, one of which was about the causes of lateness among the secondary students of Nigeria. The study revealed that the causes of lateness among the secondary students in Nigeria were “going late to bed because of watching films and home movies, resulting into wake up late in the morning, distance to school and keeping friends who are not students” (Oghuvbu, 2008). These results went consistent with the results of Oghuvbu’s reference studies which proves that tardiness among students have been a growing problem and that it is caused, not just because of the students but also because of the lack of imposing discipline from the parents. Another research partly studied about tardiness but tackled a specific reason or factor.
A study by Pimentel and Quijada (2011) focused on the frequency of use by the UP Cebu freshmen students of Facebook and a part of the study tackled about the effect of the famous social networking site to UP Cebu students’ punctuality and academic performance. For their study, Pimentel and Quijada collected 60 respondents and provided them with questionnaires. The questionnaires contained questions that ask the respondents about their use of Facebook and its effects. A certain question asked the respondents if late-night use of Facebook has an effect on their punctuality. According to the results of the study, three out of 60 respondents are always late, eight said they are sometimes late, 12 said they are seldom late and 37 said that they never get late due to late-night use of Facebook.
Generally, the results showed that the respondents are seldom late in class because of late-night use of the social networking site. Ledoux, as cited by Pimentel and Quijada, said that lack of sleep causes neural malfunctions and further affects a person’s behavior. In the study’s case, it is a student’s punctuality that is affected. Sometimes, it is not solely the students’ fault why they keep on being late in coming to class. Another factor that could affect the punctuality of a student is the response of the teachers to tardy students. Sprick and Daniels (2007) stated that the range of the teachers’ response was “from ignoring them to sending them to office” (p. 21).
This variation could lead the students to confusion as to how important it is to be on time in going to class. Another reason is the lack of motivation. Students who come to school on time are not given incentives or rewards. Also, responses to tardiness are lenient, that is nothing is done until the tenth strike or more. Another reason is “giving the student the impression that they won’t be missing anything if they are late” since in some classes, no important activities or instructions and no lessons are being done for first few minutes. Lastly, crowded hallways could create traffic, thus blocking the way of other students and making it hard for them to pass through.
Effects of Tardiness
Tardiness among students has its own negative repercussions. Nakpodia and Dafiaghor (2011) emphasized that lateness or tardiness is not just the problem of the late student but it affects the surrounding people. A student coming late in class distracts the rest of the students and disrupts the flow of the teacher’s discussion. It is even a burden to the student/s whom the late students ask for what to catch up with. The rest of the effects given by Nakpodia and Dafiaghor are about the welfare of the whole school, its productivity and revenue.
Knowing the possible effects of lateness or tardiness, it is necessary for solutions to be executed. Studies have revealed that those students with “perfect or near-perfect attendance” have good grades compared to those students who misses classes often and late-comers (Cowan Avenue Elementary School Community, 2007, para 3). Moreover, as mentioned by Zeiger (2010), the results from the survey report conducted by teachers show that students with high tardiness rates have “higher rates of suspension and other disciplinary measures” (National Center for Education Statistics Indicators of School Crime and Safety [NCESISCS] (2007)).
It also causes the students to have behavioral problems and to drop out. Lastly, Zeiger (2010) stated that “Students who are frequently tardy to school are also more apt to be fired from a job for showing up late” (para 5). A study conducted by Barbara Lee Weade on 2004 tried to “determine if school tardiness is a predictor of work tardiness” (Weade, 2004). It provided a lot of literature that observes correlations and factors affecting a student’s tardiness. As cited by Weade, the 3rd most common cause for the failure of a student is “excessive tardiness and unexcused absences” (Ligon and Jackson, 1988). “Inconsistency of school rules” (Britt, 1988) and situations such as “crowded halls, limited opportunities for social interaction, irrelevant course content, and teacher indifference” (Damico et al., 1990) are also factors that affect a student’s attendance and punctuality. As mentioned by Weade, personal values, financial security and lack of parental guidance (Payne, 2001) as well as family background (Featherstone et al., 1992) influence tardiness and absences of students.
Weade gathered data from the schools of participating students. First and foremost, she asked consent from the students and their parents in order to gain permission to collect their school records. She collected and studied the attendance and punctuality records of these students based on the number of unexcused absences and minutes of tardiness. Her study showed that among high school students, the grade point average is correlated with absences and tardiness. This means that students with better attendance and punctuality have higher grade point averages and vis-à-vis. Her study was also able to show that attendance and punctuality of students are not consistent throughout the year. There were more absences and tardiness at the latter part of the year. Gender has also shown to be a non-factor in the attendance and punctuality of high school students.
The study was very comprehensive in its subject matter. It tackles not just school tardiness but its implications on work tardiness. It shows that “students who are on-time for school classes are also likely to be on-time at work while students who are tardy frequently at school will probably also be tardy at work” (Weade, 2004). The study requires a lot of data but Weade was able to gather a sufficient amount. Though some possible correlations were not established, it is outside the scope of this research. Due to the fact that tardiness has been giving negative effects on the students nowadays, the most important thing to do is to develop a firm, consistent and functional policy that addresses late students. There must be defined sanctions and penalties for late students. Nakpodia and Dafiaghor (2011) stated that school administrators must lead by example.
They should be punctual in their own meetings and classes to avoid students to think that being late is just alright since even the authoritative persons are doing it. They should as well teach it and integrate it in every lesson. The effort on the remedy on lateness or tardiness does not start and end with the school. It must begin with the parents of the students and the government must take part as well. Transportation must be improved in order to avoid students getting stuck in traffic or encountering other obstacles down the streets. Some schools have already started finding solutions that would effectively minimize and/or eliminate tardiness among students. One of the solutions made by some schools is implementing tardiness policies, wherein they take steps in approaching the students and parents for them to solve the problem.
CAESC has their policy worked this way. Other schools initiated interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates discipline and conduct in academics. Cordogan (as cited by Weade, 2004), said that a school in Chicago, Illinois adapted a similar curriculum and yielded positive results. Students under the interdisciplinary program exhibited more positive behaviors from students not from the curriculum. Interdisciplinary students showed less absences and tardiness, as well as higher grades. Other schools made smaller academic changes such as developing personality works and cooperative learning activities, such as creation of portfolios and tutorial to younger students. These taught the students better goal-setting, decision making skills and time management. In return, students under these behavior modification programs yielded less tardiness and higher grades. To summarize, many studies have shown the reasons and factors that may contribute to the tardiness of a student.
One of the mentioned reasons of tardy students was waking up late in the morning, which can also be attributed to late-night activities, such as social networking, watching movies and television shows, as well as untimely academic and domestic errands. As proven by several studies, sometimes, it’s not also the act of the student that leads to his/her tardiness. The heavy traffic, the teachers, the school surroundings and policies may also serve as influences to the tardiness of students. Many studies have also shown the effects of tardiness on the students, the teachers, the school and the society. According to these studies, the tardiness of a student consumes his/her learning time as well as disturbs other students and teachers.
The tardy student also poses as a threat to the school as an educational and professional institution and the student may be one of the less productive members of the society. A lot of studies as well gave testimonies to effective remedies on tardiness. These studies promoted integration of personality development and interdisciplinary programs into school curriculum to aid students enhance positive behavior and personality leading to the decrease of tardiness. Our study intends to find out the tardiness of UP Cebu students and the reasons and factors that may influence this tardiness.