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Comparative analysis of children’s enrollment patterns in different areas of Honduras

Thu, March 9, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Atlanta 5 (North Tower)


The international community, spearheaded by the UN, has recently launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of broad-based development agendas for the next 15 years. SDG 4 covers all aspects of education, emphasizing the quality of education from the perspective of access. The author has targeted the Republic of Honduras, which has a low completion rate compared with its high enrollment rate in primary education, to clarify the actual enrollment status using empirical data on the enrollment pattern in primary schools from 1986 to 2010.
The results so far reveal that the most frequent enrollment pattern is graduation without any repetition, followed by dropouts in the first grade. Additionally, repetition is not a frequent enrollment pattern; many children dropped out without repeating grades. Specifically, analysis of the longitudinal data, showing the cause and effect relationship between repetition and dropouts, has revealed many patterns of dropouts without any repetition. Further, the authors focused on the relationship between repetition and dropouts, analyzing the enrollment patterns that lead to dropouts. Although repeaters are observed in the dropouts, dropouts generally occur immediately and without grade repetitions. The authors grouped the most frequent enrollment patterns by completed grades and concluded that the experience of repetition was not included in any grade levels. However, these results are based on data from a middle-sized city in a mountainous area, and they are not representative of the entire Honduras area. Can the same trends be observed in different geographical areas, like the capital or small island areas? If not, what differences can be observed? The author implements a comparative analysis using enrollment data from different geographical areas within Honduras, attempting to clarify the actual enrollment status by considering the characteristics of different areas.

When governments and development partners formulate and carry out macro policies, cross-sectional data is useful and effective for easy identification of overall trends. However, such cross-sectional data are a mix of differing individual cases and thus only show numerically average conditions. It is impossible to assess individual cases thereby understanding the enrollment status of individual children. Although a macro level grasp of situations is imperative to resolve national or international problems, this approach risks the creation of policies or practices that may not improve individuals’ lives and, in turn, may not be nationally productive, because they are not grounded on micro level data. Accordingly, this study seeks to clarify individual enrollment situations by following individual children’s enrollment histories using school records, such as school registers and teachers’ grade books.

Research methods
The study employed school records from 1986 through 2010 from eight primary schools in three different geographical areas, to analyze the data of 2,174 individuals who entered school between 1986 and 1994. The author collected individual data until pupils left the target schools as graduate and/or dropout. The observed trends in the true cohort table were analyzed according to patterns ranked by frequency in i) enrollment, ii) graduation, iii) enrollment by entrance age, iv) dropout/repetition, and v) gender.

The following trends were observed:
i) The most frequent enrollment pattern was graduation without any repetition, followed by dropping out in the first grade in the capital, as observed in a middle-sized city in a mountainous area. Graduation without repetitions comprised 45% of all enrollment patterns compared with 29% of that in a middle-sized city in a mountainous area.
ii) The most frequent graduation pattern was graduation without any repetition in the capital, mountainous, and small island areas. Graduation without repetitions accounted for 73% of all graduation patterns in the capital, which was remarkably high compared with the other two areas.
iii) More than half of the target children entered primary schools at 5 or 6 years old in the capital. This means that most of the children entered schools at the appropriate age. However, children in mountainous areas entered schools at an age range of 5 to over 9 years.
iv) The most frequent dropout pattern in all covered geographical areas was dropping out in the first or second grade after entering school. The pattern of dropout with repetitions was not observed in the first and second most frequent patterns, but it was observed in the third most frequent pattern.
v) There was no difference in pattern across the different geographical areas in terms of gender; similar trends were observed in all enrollment patterns.


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