A study of at -risk secondary students and the Tennessee driver license law

Charles Steven Chauncy, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to survey at-risk secondary students in traditional high schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County School System (MNDCSS). This survey was conducted regarding students' attitudes and level of knowledge toward the Tennessee driver license law for driving privileges. This law was enacted in 1990 by the Tennessee legislature and amended in 1994 as a method to decrease dropout rates across the state by improving attendance and academic performance of students for driving privileges. The total population of secondary high school students in the MNDCSS is approximately 17,000 of which 1007 were surveyed or 5.9% of the approximated target population.^ The survey represents 11 of the 13 high schools in the system, The two high schools not represented are magnet high schools without an at-risk student population.^ The survey instrument contained a mixture of demographic questions, attitudinal questions, questions to determine the at-risk potential of the student and three questions to evaluate the knowledge level of the respondents. A total of 28 questions comprised the survey instrument. Responses to the questionnaire ranged from a simple yes or no choice to a Likert type scale with modified options for the respondent to select.^ The research hypothesis which guided this study was that there would be a low level of knowledge among at risk secondary high school students about the Tennessee driver license law. Two null hypotheses stated there would be no significant difference between students' attitudes based on age, gender, race, grade point average, grade level, attendance patterns, possession of a driver license or compliance with the driver license law.^ Analysis of the frequencies of responses and percentages associated with questions 3 through 5 partially supported the research hypothesis. The results revealed the existence of a low to moderate level of knowledge of the Tennessee driver license law in respect to academic performance and the mandated age of school attendance for driving privileges. The research hypothesis did not support the proposal that there would be a low level of knowledge about the Tennessee driver license law in respect to regular school attendance for driving privileges.^ Cross-tabulations and Chi square tests were performed with each predesigned demographic category and attitudinal questions of the survey (p =.05). Results indicated a significant difference of students' attitudes on all the attitudinal questions presented in conjunction with the various demographic categories. The possession of a driver license category is one exception where significant differences among students' attitudes were not found. ^

Subject Area

Law|Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Charles Steven Chauncy, "A study of at -risk secondary students and the Tennessee driver license law" (1995). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9812068.