Each fall, approximately one million children enter the ninth grade with little prospect of completing high school. Of the 1.1 million students projected to leave school without a diploma for the 2012 school year, a staggering 27 percent (approximately 310,000) will be of Latino descent (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2012). The purpose of this study—"Dreams Deferred: A Qualitative Study of Latino Youth Who Left High School Prior to Obtaining a Diploma"—was to examine the perceptions and beliefs of Latino youth as they attempted to make meaning of the factors that led to their leaving school before graduation. Utilizing phenomenological research methods, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with ten individuals who had the shared experience of leaving high school prematurely. The phenomenological in-depth interview research design was chosen because the occurrence of Latino students leaving school without a diploma cannot be examined without consideration of how the experience was defined and felt by the students. In addition, multiple factors must be considered including the subjective impact of the students' social, cultural and educational histories on their school experience. The individuals were participants in a community-based GED program and were selected through purposeful sampling based on pre-identified selection criteria. The study focused on the participants' perceptions of their school experience and the events and influences that precipitated their premature departure from school. Data were collected through the in-depth interviews and detailed field notes of observations made during the interviews and program activities. Data analysis consisted of coding responses and clustering relevant statements into themes and patterns, which were then synthesized into descriptions of the participants' school experience and the factors associated with their leaving school prior to graduation. Data from the study revealed that the participants began to feel disengaged in middle school, and they perceived that their interaction with school personnel had a significant impact on their school experience. In addition, the participants cited multiple factors outside of school that diverted their focus from learning and ultimately contributed to their leaving school without a diploma. Recommendations for practice and additional research are included following a discussion of data.
|Commitee:||Cashman, Joanne, Kortecamp, Karen, Leconte, Pam, Merves, Esther|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Education and Human Development|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Education Policy, School counseling, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||High school dropouts - factors, Hispanic dropout rate, Latino student dropout, Latino student graduation rate, Reasons underlying the Hispanic dropout rate, Risk factors associated with Latino student dropout|
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