Phenomenological study of effects of student mobility on middle- and high -socioeconomic high school students
Mobility, which includes changing schools and residences, affects both academic and nonacademic experiences of students. In schools with high student mobility rates, the effects of mobility on individual students may compound to affect the school itself, or even the school district. However, the impact of mobility has not been sufficiently researched from the point of view of the mobile students themselves. Therefore, using student mobility as the conceptual framework, this phenomenological study explored the academic and nonacademic experiences of current middle and high socio-economic class high school students who have changed both school and residence to, from, or within New Jersey in a 3-year period. Study participants were drawn from schools using a snowball sampling strategy. Data were collected through 5 in-depth interviews and analyzed using Hatch’s 9-step inductive analysis model. Primary findings include description of mobility as a magnifier of existing student characteristics, a need for educators to consider nonacademic factors during placement, a need for educators to consider additional closure and welcoming policies for mobile students, and a need to increase awareness of both teachers and students concerning the needs of mobile students. Understanding the effects of mobility on the academic and nonacademic experiences of students may have implications for positive social change by informing districts, schools, parents, and students themselves of potential impacts of mobility and by providing a basis for planning and programming to minimize negative and maximize positive effects of mobility.
0524: Elementary education
0533: Secondary education