Cooperative learning to improve generic skills

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Truancy can be defined as a phenomenon where student skip classes or lectures without permission or acceptable reason. Truancy or absenteeism has been a common problem faced by many schools and also higher learning institution in Malaysia whether they are urban or rural. It is also considered as a disciplinary problem that has been going on for years. Truancy or absenteeism has emerged as one of the disciplinary problems with the highest number of students involved.

From the research study conducted at University Teknologi Malaysia it is observed that of late, there are increasing number of students who skip lectures and thus the classes never have full attendance. The lectures have also shown concern on this issue as they believe that this may lead to academic failure and eventually affect the student's performances on the whole.

Based on UTM's handbook for students it is clearly stated that attendance is foremost important for ever lecture and failing to attend without a valid reason then it'll be questionable by the academic department. Hence students who obtain a percentage of less than 80% for their attendance will be barred from sitting for their final examination. On the other hand, the leniency of some lectures who do not give prior importance to the taking of attendance is also a major factor which contributes to truancy whereby students pay less importance in attending class and are tens to skip classes even more.

2.0 Statement of Problem

The problem arises when the student feels that they do not need to attend classes as they manage to study on their own. Besides that, some students do not have the motivation to go to class because they think that the class itself is not interesting. To tackle this problem, we want to know the effects of truancy, especially to the student's performance throughout the semester. Moreover, we would like to know the student's and lecturer's opinions regarding this matter. These are the main questions that need to be answered in order to solve or come out with a solution to this problem.

Objective of the research

The purpose of this research is to determine how frequently students do not attend their classes throughout the semester. In addition, we would like to compare the CGPA between students who come to classes and those who do not come to classes. Furthermore, the research will explore what the students did when they do not attend classes. The scope of this study is limited to the UTM's lecturers and students. At the end of this research, we will recommend useful solutions on how to ease the truancy problem among UTM students.

Research Questions

What are the reasons for students to play truant?

What are the effects of truancy on students?

What can be done to ease truancy among students?

Scope of research

The sampling technique used will depend on the objectives of the study and the resources available. In order to collect data,6000 questionaire will be distributed among the students from three faculty which is Faculty of Electrical Engineering ,Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Civil Engineering.Whilst,the interview is limited to 6 students from Faculty of Electrical Engineering which three of them are the type of student who always skipped classes and the others are the type that always attended classes.Besides that,we will interview 4 lecturers only from Faculty of Electrical Engineering.The observation will be carried out in our section which is Section 02,3SEE,Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Non-Probability sampling technique is used in determining the sampel in this survey.

Research Methodology

In this research, firstly we will determine the sources in data collection whereby the

primary sources would be based on questionnaire , interview

and observation. In order to know why this problem oocur in the first place, we've decided to ask the students directly by asking them to answer questionaire regarding the matter.60 questionaires will be distributed among the student.

In addition, we've come up with the method for collecting information from the students and lecturers which will be by interviewing them directly. We will be interviewing two types of students . The first one will be the type of students who always follow the rules, that is in this case, never skipped lectures. Then,We will ask he or she why he or she never skipped any classes and we will ask their performance throughout the semester as well. Meanwhile, for the second type of students who always skipped and missed classes, we will ask them why they decided to do this and what they actually do during the time they skipped the classes.Furthermore,we will interview some of the lecturers about their opinion regarding to this problem and ask them on the solution how to alleviate truancy among UTM's students.

Besides that,we will also collect data and information through observations.This will be carried out by observing the attendance of students in certain clasess as well in particular period of time.Firstly, we will count the number of students in the class and then, we will ask permission from the lecturer to see the attendance list at the end of the class. This is to ensure that the number of students in the class correlates with the total number of students who sign in the attendance list as sometimes students ask their friend to sign on their behalf. From these observations, we aim to know when is the time students mostly skipped their classes, whether it is in the morning, afternoon or in the evening. Then, we hope to come up with a reasonable conclusion based on the data obtained as well as to think of some measures to encounter this problem.

6.1 Secondary Data

Besides collecting data from the primary sources,we will also find the additional information about truancy from journal,newspaper,textbook and article from internet.All of these references are categorised as secondary data.Furthermore,from all of the secondary resources we obtained,we will paraphrasing and summarizing the material in order for us to enhance better understanding on this research.

Establishing the validity and reliability of research instrument

7.1 Reliability

Embodied in this citation is the idea of replicability or repeatability of results or observations.

Kirk and Miller (1986) identify three types of reliability referred to in quantitative research, which relate to: (1) the degree to which a measurement, given repeatedly, remains the same (2) the stability of a measurement over time; and (3) the similarity of measurements within a given time period (pp. 41-42).

Charles (1995) adheres to the notions that consistency with which questionnaire [test] items are answered or individual's scores remain relatively the same can be determined through 599 The Qualitative Report December 2003 the test-retest method at two different times. This attribute of the instrument is actually referred to as stability. If we are dealing with a stable measure, then the results should be similar. A high degree of stability indicates a high degree of reliability, which means the results are repeatable. Joppe, (2000) detects a problem with the test-retest method which can make the instrument, to a certain degree, unreliable. She explains that test-retest method may sensitize the respondent to the subject matter, and hence influence the responses given. We cannot be sure that there was no change in extraneous influences such as an attitude change that has occurred. This could lead to a difference in the responses provided. Similarly, Crocker and Algina (1986) note that when a respondent answer a set of test items, the score obtained represents only a limited sample of behaviour. As a result, the scores may change due to some characteristic of the respondent, which may lead to errors of measurement. These kinds of errors will reduce the accuracy and consistency of the instrument and the test scores. Hence, it is the researchers' responsibility to assure high consistency and accuracy of the tests and scores. Thus, Crocker and Algina (1986) say, "Test developers have a responsibility of demonstrating the reliability of scores from their tests" (p. 106).

Although the researcher may be able to prove the research instrument repeatability and internal consistency, and, therefore reliability, the instrument itself may not be valid.

7.2 Validity

The traditional criteria for validity find their roots in a positivist tradition, and to an extent, positivism has been defined by a systematic theory of validity. Within the positivist terminology, validity resided amongst, and was the result and culmination of other empirical conceptions: universal laws, evidence, objectivity, truth, actuality, deduction, reason, fact and mathematical data to name just a few (Winter, 2000).

Joppe (2000) provides the following explanation of what validity is in quantitative research:

Validity determines whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are. In other words, does the research instrument allow you to hit "the bull's eye" of your research object? Researchers generally determine validity by asking a series of questions, and will often look for the answers in the research of others. (p. 1)

Wainer and Braun (1998) describe the validity in quantitative research as "construct validity". The construct is the initial concept, notion, question or hypothesis that determines which data is to be gathered and how it is to be gathered. They also assert that quantitative researchers actively cause or affect the interplay between construct and data in order to validate their investigation, usually by the application of a test or other process. In this sense, the involvement of the researchers in the research process would greatly reduce the validity of a test.

Insofar as the definitions of reliability and validity in quantitative research reveal two strands: Firstly, with regards to reliability, whether the result is replicable. Secondly, with regards to validity, whether the means of measurement are accurate and whether they are actually measuring what they are intended to measure. However, the concepts of reliability and validity are viewed differently by qualitative researchers who strongly consider these concepts Nahid Golafshani 600

defined in quantitative terms as inadequate. In other words, these terms as defined in quantitative terms may not apply to the qualitative research paradigm. The question of replicability in the results does not concern them (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992), but precision (Winter, 2000), credibility, and transferability (Hoepf, 1997) provide the lenses of evaluating the findings of a qualitative research. In this context, the two research approaches or perspectives are essentially different paradigms (Kuhn, 1970).

Ethics invol

ved in conduction a survey

Firstly the confidentiality of the date supplied by respondents is of prime concern to all who conduct surveys. The data collected are usually protected by law. The data collected are safeguarded in numerous ways , for examples use only number codes to link the respondent to a questionnaire and store the name-to-code linkage information separately from the questionnaires. Besides this, the names and addresses of survey respondents should not be made available to anyone outside those involved in the survey after the responses have been entered into the computer. On top of that names and addresses of the survey respondents should be omitted from computer files used for analysis.

Furthermore the statistical tabulation should be presented using broad enough categories so that individual respondents cannot be singed out. Most importantly respondents should be informed about the purpose of study and should have the option not to participate or not to divulge information that he or she feels not comfortable with. Finally the questions asked should not in any way attempt to device respondents as the integrity of a survey is enhanced if respondents are clear about the purpose of study.