The largest factor influencing student mobility, particularly prior to high school, is residential mobility. Residential mobility, which refers to the movement of family units between places of residences, accounts for the majority of student movement between schools. Many educators consider student movement between schools inevitable, often overlooking other causative factors such as school overcrowding, class size reduction, suspension and expulsion policies, general academic climate, social climate, and school choice (Rumberger 2000). Generally migrant student mobility, or student moving from foreign countries, is addressed by the school system, which may set up certain programs for these students based on the number of students and specific needs, such as cultural or language barriers. Urban migration, or migration within a region, is much more difficult to measure and assess (Ligon and Paredes, 1992).
Urban student mobility and the reasons behind this movement of students are difficult to assess because of the many factors involved that vary drastically between different regions. A wide disparity exists between the techniques for measurement and recordkeeping of student motility within different districts and regions, further complicating analysis of student motility. Additionally, many contemporary mobility statistics are based on available numerical data, which fails to provide accurate correlation between the many factors influencing student motility and the numbers of student moving between schools (Ligon and Paredes, 1992). As such, this data has generally been of limited use in assessing the cause and results of student motility on primary school children.
Examining student mobility from the perspective of the child, both the mobile child and the children experiencing the classroom effects of student mobility, is particularly useful in understanding the fundamental impact of student mobility on individual student growth and classroom