Investigating Critical & Contemporary Issues in Education/Mobility

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chapter 6 Mobility

Devan Henley: Web/Camden

Students commonly change from one school to another when they are promoted from a lower grade level to a higher one. Student mobility is the act of a student making a non-promotional change in schools. This act is one that has many effects on the student. This change in school setting can be a hindrance to a student for many reasons and educators should be aware to counter these effects. One possible negative result of student mobility may be educational consequences that arise from a student’s change of schools. Student mobility can negatively affect a student’s relationships with their teachers. It may also be a cause of behavioral problems in those students. Teachers should be aware and prepared for student-mobility related problems to better address similar situations with their own students.

Student mobility can often be associated with below average success in the classroom. Many studies have shown a correlation in lower test scores and student mobility. As stated by Schafft and Killeen, “Test score evidence generally, but not at each grade level, suggests a relationship between mobility and reduced state assessment test scores” (Schafft & Killeen, 2007). This negative scholastic affect is measured from the earlier elementary levels through to the high school level. Studies on early grade level student mobility show how it can create an academic achievement problem early on in the school experience. Vail found 41 percent of third graders who changed schools more than once during the academic year performed below grade level in reading compared to 26 percent of students who did not experience mobility (Vail 1996). Most studies show that student mobility in the high school level has a direct correlation with drop-out rates. Rumberger says, “Students who changed high schools even once were less than half as likely as stable students to graduate from high school” (Rumberger 1999). There are numerous studies and clear evidence that come to similar conclusions. Schools could find themselves with students in a similar situation and should be aware of the information. Schools could familiarize their teachers with research based ideas of how to counter act this effect. The teachers and schools have to make an effort to be prepared for the students.

The relationship with teachers is important to students of all grade levels. Student mobility has been found to significantly interfere with these relationships. The teacher-student relationship plays an important role in how students accept education. Research has shown that children respond with improved attitudes and better behavior when they have closer relationships with their teachers (Birch & Ladd, 1997). Another study in developmental research shows that teacher relationships are critical in terms of children’s feelings about school (Howes & Hamilton, 1993). For students to want to learn from an educator they need to have trust in that educator. Students that change schools are placed at a disadvantage because they will have less time to establish lasting relationships with teachers. Teachers can make an effort to gain the trust of new mobility students. Teachers should be aware of where the mobility student is in terms of the schools curriculum. Mobility students may be behind if they came from a different school district. Teachers can help the student ease into their new setting.

Another trend found in student mobility is bad behavior. Disciplinary and attendance records are usually weaker for students that are more mobile. This trend has been seen throughout student-mobility studies. Speaking of his findings on student mobility, Kai notes of students they “often has behavioral problems in the classroom, and in a number of ways exhibits reduced school attachment” (Schafft & Killeen, 2007). Students may feel as though they are an outsider and begin acting out in classroom situations. They may feel that they don’t belong and begin to miss classes and get into trouble outside the classroom. Lack of motivation in the classroom may push students away from education and result in students not completing school. Schools and educators are needed to help prevent this from creating life-long consequences to mobile students. Proper motivation can be applied to the students through study sessions and more teacher-student time. By insuring the student is not behind in their educational growth they may begin to fit into the new class room. Creating ways for the student to fit into the new school may help prevent their lack of motivation and feelings of out sidedness.

In conclusion, one needs one begin to skim the surface of studies to find numerous problematic effects from student mobility. The drop in educational success rates for more mobile students is one that is concerning for educators and parents. This is something that must be addressed and evaluated on an individual bases. Schools should allow these students to get what they need to get back on an educational tract and no longer be falling behind. The relationships held between student and teacher is one that will need to be addressed with new students that transfer into schools. This relationship may prove to be meaningful to some students as it may motivate them to stay in school and finish through the high school level. This may be a commonly overlooked consequence due to the fact that it cannot be measured in a traditional way. Finally behavioral problems should be understood for mobile students and should be addressed in a manner that may fix the insecurities creating the problem. Student mobility is a common fact of life. The school systems must be able to adapt and deal with student mobility in various ways, as no two students are going to react in the same way. Preparation on the part of the schools will be the best possible way to keep student mobility problems to a minimum.

Work Cited

Birch, S. H., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). The teacher-child relationship and children's early school adjustment. Journal of School Psychology, 35, 61-79.

Howes, C., & Hamilton, C.E. (1993) The changing experience of child care: Changes in teachers and in teacher-child relationships and children’s social competence with peers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8, 15-32.

Rumberger, R.W., Larson, K.A., Ream, R.K., & Palardy, G.J. (1999). The Educational Consequences of Mobility for California Students and Schools. Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) Policy Brief 1,May.

Schafft, K. A., & Killeen, K. M. (2007). Assessing Student Mobility and its Consequences: A 3District Case Study. A Condition Report Prepared for The Research Foundation of State University of New York on Understanding Student Mobility and its Implications for Student Outcomes

Vail, K. (1996). Learning on the move. American School Board Journal, 183(12), 20-25.


Does test score evidence generally suggests a relationship between mobility and reduced state assessment test scores?

Chap. 6 Mobility

Clint D. Clark Jr.: Camden

Mobility is moving, or capable of moving or being moved, from place to place. Twenty to Twenty- five percent of students change schools each and every year. Every student that is in this percent are confronted with multiple transitions challenges throughout the year. The impact of a Mobile society effects students learning and school culture. Sometimes these students do not adapt to well to their changes and it can result in major learning and behavior problems. These must work twice as hard to benefit themselves in any way.

Student mobility refers to the phenomenon of students changing schools for reasons other than grade promotion. Students who transfer frequently between schools during the school year are at greater risk for academic and behavioral problems (Hartman, 2002). Some student have hard times at home which also help these situations. Some research suggests that differences in student achievement between non-mobile and mobile students can also be attributed to students' background characteristics (Rumberger, 2002). These students have no choice but to move with their family and they get punished. These students then gains attitude problems and bad behavioral, and in results to that poor attendance to school and final grades. The 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the U.S. Census found that twenty to twenty- five percent of school-aged children moved in the previous year. According to a study conducted in 1994 by the U.S. General Accounting Office, one out of six children had attended three or more schools by the end of the 3rd grade, and that is a lot on a child. Some students do not adapt well to that at all. Research indicates that frequent school changes have a cumulative effect on students' achievement that can place them as much as a year behind their peers (Kerbow, 1996). Students changing schools frequently are also at greater risk of dropping out (Rumberger and Larson, 1998). Schools with high rates of student mobility generally have one or more of the following characteristics. Large population of children of migrant workers, large population of homeless children, or large population of low-income families has trouble. All these affect the students and make it harder for them to succeed in and out of school. If a student is having hard times outside of school, it will affect the way they perform while they are at school, and will mess up there education. The impact of mobility on students’ education is severe. Students who move from one school to another may experience a range of problem such as lower achievements levels, behavioral problems, problems with making new friends, a higher risk of students dropping out of school. The students who end up dropping out of school just lose their confidence of succeeding and fall behind. Those students lose their motivation to try harder from all there hard times.

A lot of studies have examined the impact of mobility on students on several aspects of academic achievement, test scores, grades, retention, and high school completions. As with all research studies, there are limitations to what these studies tell us. Most important, because mobile students may have personal and family problems at home that contributes to their mobility problems. Studies should take into account those prior characteristics in order to determine whether mobility itself is the cause of subsequent achievement and other problems in their schools. Studies that do not control for the background characteristics of students consistently find that mobile students have lower achievement on average than non-mobile or stable students. For example, one national study of third-grade students found that frequent school changes were associated with a host of problems, including nutrition and health problems, below-grade-level reading scores, and retention in grades (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994). Yet studies that do account for background differences find that mobility may be more of a symptom than a cause of poor school performance. These symptoms do cause more problems than they want them too. Students with hard backgrounds have plenty of problems in the school system. Which in results have really low test scores and the students are not getting the right education they need to succeed in life after school. These students that have this problem very seldom make it to college and in result to that have income problems later on in life.

Finally, there is strong evidence that mobility during elementary school as well as during high school diminishes the prospects for graduation. One study that tracked children from early childhood to young adulthood found that residential mobility reduced the odds of high school graduation even after controlling for a variety of family background variables (Haveman & Wolfe, 1994). Several studies based on the same national database of over 10,000 high school students found that school mobility between the first and eighth grades increased the odds of dropping out of school during high school even after controlling for eighth-grade achievement and other factors (Rumberger & Larson, 1998; Swanson & Schneider, 1999; Teachman, Paasch, & Carver, 1996).

In conclusion all students that move from one to school to another have more trouble and more problems than other students. The students have a more possibility of gain behavior problem and lower grades. All my research and the graphs that I have seen made my conclusion correct. Some students find ways to make friends at their new school faster than others, but they are surely still behind in school work. All students that suffer with mobility have to work twice as hard to succeed if they are behind in school work. Some students move more than one time a year for military purposes and they have a much harder time.


Hartman, C., "High Classroom Turnover: How Children Get Left Behind," in Dianne M. Piche, W.L.Taylor, and R.A. Reed (Eds.), Rights at Risk: Equality in an Age of Terrorism, pp.227-244,

Citizen's Commission on Civil Rights, 2002.

Haveman, R., & Wolfe, B. (1994). Succeeding generations: On the effects of investments in children. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Kerbow, D., "Patterns of Urban Student Mobility and Local School Reform" Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 1(2), 1996.

Rumberger, R.W., "The Educational Consequences of Mobility for California Students and Schools," Policy Analysis for California Education, 1999.

Rumberger, R.W., and Larson, K.A., "Student Mobility and the Increased Risk of High School Dropout," American Journal of Education, 107(1), pp. 1-35, 1998. 2

U.S. General Accounting Office. (1994). Elementary school children: Many change schools frequently, harming their education. Washington, DC: Author. ED 369 526.

Chapter 6

Pamela Wray: Brunswick

Student Mobility is the practice of students moving from one school to another for reasons other than being promoted to the next grade school level. Although student mobility is not a new concept, it is becoming a contributing factor to the academic achievement gaps. This historically has been attributed to race, gender, and social/economic status. Some of the causes of mobility and the impact it can have on students, schools, teachers, and academic achievement can be devastating. Experience suggests that schools and parents can help reduce unnecessary mobility and relieve its harmful effects.

Nearly 12 million children changed residence in 1999-2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001a). The 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the U.S. Census found that 15 to 20 percent of school- aged children moved in the previous year. According to a study performed in 1994 by the U.S. General Accounting office, one out of six children had attended three or more schools by the end of 3rd grade. They also reported that nearly half a million children in the rural Midwest are living in poverty, with thousands more living just above the poverty line, as a contributing factor of frequent mobility. Other contributing factors such as over-crowding, class size reduction, suspension policies, and the general academic and social climate in schools can contribute to student mobility. A national study performed by Russell Rumberger and Katherine Larson found that 70% of all school changes between grades eight and twelve were accompanied by a change of residences – which is the leading cause of student mobility. The most frequent reason was due to families moving. But other reasons were due to students requesting a change in schools in order to take advantage of a specific educational program, or to transfer to a private school. Several student-related factors have also been identified such as low school performance, behavior problems, absenteeism, and low educational expectations.

Research finds that students can suffer psychologically, socially, and academically from mobility. They also face the challenge of coping with a new school environment, social adjustment to new peers, and social expectations. Moving often damages, or completely severs, important social ties that are useful for cognitive or social development (Pribesh & Downey, 1999). Children who move frequently are more likely to repeat a grade, not allowing them to progress at an age-appropriate level. On the other hand, high mobility can have dramatic effects on schools, their budgets and funding. Continual student turnover forces teachers to devote more attention and time on mobile students instead of progressing with non-mobile students. Research shows that continual student turnover is disruptive and can cause chaos affecting learning activities and teacher morale. School administrators have reported how time-consuming it is to process students when they enter and exit a school. This due to the fact that so many students arrive without academic records, making it hard for school officials to determine proper placement for mobile students.

Although student mobility has yet to be put on the national policy front, the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001”, includes certain aspects in the law that allow schools to omit test scores of students who do not meet certain required time in school. These exceptions do raise questions as to whether or not mobile students will fall through the “cracks” of a system where schools are accountable for the success of all students. This Act is to also ensure that every child in the United States is successful in school and to close the achievement gap between highly mobile students and non- mobile students. States, schools, and districts need to recognize student mobility as a barrier to success, understand how it impacts academic achievement and must learn ways to address the issues relating to mobility.

There are ways to reduce the negative effects of student mobility, such as schools implementing a program for newcomers to help students become accustomed to their new environment, or providing parents and family’s policies and services offered by the school and community. A general awareness program can be put in place regarding the needs and circumstances of new students and their families. There are some schools that have a program set up called the “buddy system” which pairs a new student with an existing student in order to help the new student navigate around school, provide help with scheduling, and learn the rules. Parents can make sure proper school records are forwarded in a timely manner from the previous school. Parents and student can also meet regularly with the school counselor and teachers two or three weeks after a transfer is made to see how their child is adjusting to the new school. Schools can also initiate a number of strategies to help new students adjust to the new school setting and to quickly provide the educational and support services that mobile students may acquire.

Student mobility is a growing issue for rural communities. This issue has a proven negative impact on academic achievement for students and for the effective operation of schools and school districts. States are developing programs in an attempt to lower student mobility rates and lessen the effects of mobility on students’ education. Some states are developing programs to educate parents about minimizing the negative effects of mobility, along with implementing district-wide and state-wide standardized curriculum, and providing professional development to assist teachers in meeting the needs of highly mobile students. With increasing pressure on schools to adopt reforms and raise test scores, addressing the issue of mobility may not seem a high priority for schools, however; this phenomenon has a proven negative impact on academic achievement for students and for the effective operation of schools and school districts. Schools and districts need to implement programs that will reduce mobility in an effort to improve the overall quality of all schools.

Works Cited:

Kerbow, (1996): Rumberger et al.,(1999), “Student Mobility and Academic Achievement”

Rumberger, Russell W., Encyclopedia of Education (2002)

Research Center: “Student Mobility”

Rumberger, Russell, W., Appleseed Today, “Student Mobility and Academic Achievement”

Rumberger, R.W., Larson, K.A., (1998), “Student Mobility and the Increased Risk of High School Dropout, American Journal of Education, 107(1), 1-35. EJ 583 043

Learning Point Associates, North Central Educational Laboratory, “Educational Policy:”

Learning Point Associates, North Central Educational Laboratory, “Suggestions and Strategies”

Student Mobility – The Extent of Student Mobility, The Impact of Mobility on Students

Journal of Negro Education, The, Winter 2003 by Rumberger, Russell W., “Causes and Consequences of Student Mobility, The

ED504245 – Changing Schools: “A Look at Student Mobility Trends in Chicago Public Schools Since 1995

Chaika, Gloria, Education World, Curriculum Article (1999), “Student Mobility: Helping Children Cope With a Moving Experience

Chapter 6: Mobility Jennifer Cormican: Brunswick

Mobility is an issue that concerns educators today for many reasons that include affecting children socially, emotionally, academically, psychologically, and behaviorally. This be the case it is horrible that over most children’s elementary and secondary careers they will make at least one non-promotional school change(Rumberger, Russell W.,2003). About 17 percent of third graders have changed schools three or more times since first grade.(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002) The degree that mobility affects children is largely dependant upon the number of times they change schools, the reasons they change schools, and their personal and family situation. In this article I will discuss the following: what is mobility, who is most at risk for being mobile, reasons for mobility, the negative effects of mobility, and some ways to minimize the negative effects of mobility.(Rumberger, Russell W.,2003 )

What is mobility? Mobility is defined as students moving from one school to another for reasons other than grade promotion.(Rumberger, Russell W., 2003)The mobility rate for a school is calculated by the total number of new student entries plus the total number of withdrawals within the year divided by the total number of students on the opening day of official enrollment.(Fowler-Finn, Thomas) This is a widespread issue. The 2000 US census data shows that anywhere between fifteen and eighteen percent of school aged children moved in the previous year(Rumberger, Russell W., 2003).

Who is most at risk for the negative effects of mobility? Ethnic groups that are already struggling and tend to be of a lower socio-economic status tend to be more mobile(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002). Refer to Figure 2. 

In addition to certain ethnic groups being more mobile about 40 percent of migrant children change schools three or more times within two years. The difficulties of teaching students with limited English proficiency is increased by the statistic that says that about 34 percent of these students also tend to change schools three or more times within two years(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002). This may be attributed to the reasoning that the migrant students tend to be of a certain ethnicity that also has limited English proficiency. In addition students whose guardian rents, rather than owns their own home, are more likely to be mobile. The1999 US census found that 38 percent of renters moved within the past year compared to 8 percent of homeowners.(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002) Renters are more common in urban areas which leads to the next statistic that says that urban students are more mobile than their rural and suburban counterparts. 25 percent of third grade students from inner city schools have moved three or more times since the first grade compared to fifteen percent of students from rural and suburban areas(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002). The reason behind this may be that suburban school districts have lower population densities than their urban counterparts and a student who moves the same physical distance would be less likely to have to change schools in an suburban or rural area.(Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, 2002)There are many reasons for these students to be highly mobile.

Reasons for mobility may include family income, homeownership, population density, an increase in parental options( due to No Child Left Behind Legislation), overcrowding of schools, schools adjusting for overcrowding with class size reductions, strict suspension and expulsion practices, and the general academic and social climate of the school. The largest reason for mobility appears to me to be the socio-economic status of the student and factors associated with belonging to a low-income family. Refer to Figure 1. 

The children of this lower income bracket tend to have higher rates of illegitimacy, divorce, and single-parent households which puts a greater strain on the extended family to help out. This leads to these children being shuffled back forth between relatives loosing even more of that stability that they need to thrive. Surprisingly though research has found that thirty to forty percent of school changes are not associated with residential changes (Rumberger, Russell W., 2003). That leads this student to believe that a great deal of making students mobile could be avoided by parents leaving their child in the same school and school systems minimizing their redistricting.

The negative effects of mobility include: lower test scores, lower grades, decreased levels of high school completion, students being more likely to repeat a grade, students having difficulty creating peer relationships, and can cause many behavioral problems. Refer to figure 3 to compare mobility rates to achievement.

Another issues involving mobility is that students records often do not arrive in a timely manner and the students are placed in remedial or advanced classes when neither are warranted. Mobility not only affects the mobile student it also affects non mobile students because teachers are having to spend their time helping new students catch up rather than progressing through their lessons. Mobility also negatively affects the community in that when a student leaves they take funding with them. With all of these issues relates to mobility what can we do to minimize the damage.

Some ways to minimize the damage of mobility include: informing the parents of the negative aspects of mobility, schools redistricting less often, a nationalized curriculum, and improving the overall quality of the schools giving parents less incentive to move their children. If a parent does have to move their child they should try to make school changes at the end of a school year or semester, personally sign their students up at the new school, make sure student records are forwarded in a timely fashion, and make follow up appointments with a school counselor to see how their child is adjusting to the new school.

In conclusion I believe that mobility is an issue in its own right compounded by other issues faced by teachers involving student achievement and decreasing the achievement gap. We also as future educators should remember these students and not let them fall through cracks and give them the extra attention they need and deserve. After all we are the educators for tomorrow and if we do not succeed then where is our future as a community, nation, or even world headed.


Learning Point Associates,(Unknown),Educational Policy, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, retrieved from

Fowler-Finn, Thomas,(unknown)Student Stability vs. Mobility : Factors that Contribute to Achievement Gaps, Retrieved from

No known author, (09-24-2004), Student Mobility, Research Center ,0,retrieved from

Media:C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Pictures\Sample Pictures Hanna Skandera, Richard Sousa, (2002), Mobility and the Achievement Gap, Hoover Digest, 3, retrieved from

Rumberger, Russell W., (2003), Student Mobility and Academic Achievement, Eric Digest, 2,retrieved from