The relationship between school dropouts and selected factors and characteristics

Dewey D. Blackledge

Abstract

The general purpose of this study was to identify at-risk predictors comprising potential dropout characteristics for students enrolled in the eighth grade during the 1992-93 school term in schools located in two distinctly different geographical settings. The study investigates the relationship between student dropout and the selected variables of school demographics, familial characteristics, geographical setting, and student achievement. The subjects were students who graduated from high school during the 1996-97 academic year and those who did not graduate but were still enrolled seeking a high school diploma. The other group of subjects were those students from each geographical setting who were considered dropouts because they left school prior to graduation. The subjects in the study represented two schools depicting a rural and an urban setting. A total of 536 subjects was studied comprised of 232 rural students and 304 urban students. A multiple regression analysis technique was used to test the 14 hypotheses to determine if a significant relationship exists between the criterion variable student dropout and selected composite set of independent variables. The same technique also was used to test for a significant relationship between student dropout and selected independent variables while holding constant the remaining selected independent variables. The multiple regression technique was utilized to determine the significance between the characteristics of a student dropout in a rural school and an urban school setting. A longitudinal study using this regression analysis was conducted on data from a 1991 study, and the data from the 1997 study pertained to the variables age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, achievement test scores, detention, and attendance in grade 6. Of the 14 hypotheses of this 1997 study, 12 were accepted either wholly or in part, while only 2 hypotheses were rejected. These hypotheses pertained to the relationship between criterion variable of student dropout and the geographical setting variables.