Understanding Why Students Drop Out of High School, According to Their Own Reports

7835 Words Sep 12th, 2014 32 Pages
Understanding Why Students Drop Out of High School, According to Their Own Reports
Are They Pushed or Pulled, or Do They Fall Out? A Comparative Analysis of Seven Nationally Representative Studies
Abstract
Research on school dropout extends from early 20th-century pioneers until now, marking trends of causes and prevention. However, specific dropout causes reported by students from several nationally representative studies have never been examined together, which, if done, could lead to a better understanding of the dropout problem. Push, pull, and falling out factors provide a framework for understanding dropouts. Push factors include school-consequence on attendance or discipline. Pull factors include out-of-school enticements like
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However, never before have reports of students who dropped out been compared from all the available nationally representative dropout studies and then analyzed. What follows will describe seven nationally representative studies on school dropout and their findings. Also, these studies will be analyzed using the framework of push, pull, and falling out factors, as set forth by Jordan, Lara, and McPartland (1994) and Watt and Roessingh (1994), to determine which types of factors were most prominent. The discussion section will posit potential reasons for predominant types of factors, and the implications this has on dropout scholarship in the past, present, and future.
Background
School completion rates have grown continually during much of the past century from single digits at the turn of the 20th century, to 50% just after World War II, to 80% in the late 1970s, and finally leveling off at near 89.9% in the recent times (Baldwin, Moffett, & Lane, 1992; Chapman, Laird, & KewalRamani, 2010; Dorn, 2003; Jones, 1977). This dramatic shift coincided with educational changes, such as the standards movement in education, as well as social movements and cultural changes, including women’s rights, civil rights, dual income families becoming the norm for many families, and the strong

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