SELECTED FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH STUDENT ENROLLMENT DECLINE IN THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA
Purpose. The purpose of the study was to investigate selected factors that might relate to student enrollment decline in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. ^ Procedure and Methods. The sample utilized in this study was comprised by school administrators of both elementary and secondary schools, pastors of all parishes, randomly selected associate pastors, teachers and parents from the five counties that make up the Archdiocesan School System of Philadelphia. Each of the sample members received two letters and a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed with the questionnaire. ^ Items pertinent to description of the sample in the questionnaire included the location in which each respondent worked or lived, the level of education completed from elementary school education to professional school. ^ Using a 4-point Likert-type scale, the questionnaire allowed subjects the opportunity to respond to factors they judged to be associated with student enrollment decline. The scale was designed to measure the respondents' degree of agreement or disagreement with 27 statements on varying items associated with enrollment decline.^ Factor analytic techniques were used to analyze the "factors related to decline in a student enrollment scale." The principal component analysis yielded six factors with eigen values above 1.00. The varimax rotation then produced six factors identified as scales. ^ Analysis of Variance was used to determine if the parents, school administrators, teachers, pastors and associate pastors have a significant relationship with Scales 1-6. An F ratio was used to determine the degree of significance among the groups. Following this, a range test was employed to examine which group contributed to the differences. ^ Results. Results produced were twofold: (a)the attitudinal survey through the use of a questionnaire, and (b)information obtained from records. ^ The attitudinal survey revealed that there were six factors related to student enrollment decline in the Catholic Archdiocesan School System of Philadelphia as follows: (Scale 1) Non-training of future church leaders; (Scale 2) Public school excellence; (Scale 3) Catholic school rigidity; (Scale 4) General operations; (Scale 5) Real life preparation; (Scale 6) Discontent with religious impact. Information obtained from records revealed that there were downward trends in both birthrates and fertility rates. There were also decline in population in some of the counties. Financial problems were encountered by the Catholic School System of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as well. All of the groups in the study agreed that parents cannot afford the rising cost of a Catholic school.^ In conclusion, birth decline, fertility rates, economic crises, demographic mobility and the six factors from an attitudinal survey were all seen as factors related to student enrollment decline in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia School System. ^
PATRICK ODEY IDIKU,
"SELECTED FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH STUDENT ENROLLMENT DECLINE IN THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA"
(January 1, 1981).
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