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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Why are 21st Century Students Dropping out of High School? An Examination of Causes, Effects, and Prevention
by Bowers, Melinda Edwards, Ed.D., Wingate University, 2017, 100; 10618513
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the causes, effects, and prevention strategies that influence a student’s decision to drop out of high school. Three research questions are explored:

1. What causes 21st century high school students to drop out of high school?

2. Why are current dropout prevention measures not meeting the needs of today’s students?

3. What patterns emerge in participant responses to the question, “Why did you leave high school prior to graduation?”

The researcher collected data from 92 students attending orientation for the adult high school program at a small, rural community college who left school prior to graduation. Ten students were selected and agreed to a one on one interview with the researcher in order to provide a rich context to support their decision to drop out of high school. Data collected included academic background, school experiences, family characteristics, parental investment, disciplinary actions, and attendance patterns throughout the student’s school career. The study identified precipitating causes for students to withdraw from school including perceptions of education by the student and family, teen pregnancy, socio-economic characteristics of the family and community, disciplinary actions taken against the student, and the student’s need to find full time employment. A 5 x5 Chi Square analysis was done to find the degree of relationship between the basic characteristics of poverty to the causes for dropping out. The results of the analysis were not significant, indicating that living in poverty does not cause students to drop out of high school. The data from the surveys, interviews, and chi square analysis showed that dropping out of high school is not a spontaneous decision, but a result of years of academic struggle, personal and family issues, and the need to provide for basic needs. It is a long process, mired in struggle. The study also revealed a lack of school-related incentives and effective dropout prevention programs to address the issue.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Compton, Cynthia
Commitee: Davis, Ed, Hockett, Anne
School: Wingate University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: Cohort graduation rate, Dropout factories, Dropout prevention, High school completion rate, High school drop out, High school equivalency test
Publication Number: 10618513
ISBN: 978-0-355-34972-6
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