Perceptions of high school students concerning the impact of a graduated driver's licensing program law as a means of dropout prevention

Carol Angelia Nowell Weems

Abstract

American secondary schools have attempted many different, positive, motivational dropout prevention techniques to increase students' desire to stay in school. The national dropout rate continues to climb with very few students ever returning to graduate. State legislatures around the country have attempted to reduce or curb high school dropout rates by enacting laws that require teenagers to stay in school completing a graduated driver's licensing system in order to gain or keep driving privileges. A graduated driver's license law is a three-stage licensing law that will allow for a graduated licensing system in high schools for young, beginning student drivers who earn full driving privileges upon receipt of their high school diploma. The researcher examined student responses to determine the differences in high school students' perceptions of the possible impact of graduated driver's license laws. Student response data was analyzed on the variables of age, gender, race, grade, grade point average, region, number of times a student was placed into alternative school, out of school and in-school suspension, absences from school, number of times grade repeated, payment method for school meals. The region where the participating schools were located did not have a significant impact on student perceptions for the majority of the questions examined in the research. At-risk students were identified by the number of times a student was placed into alternative school, out of school and in-school suspension, absences from school, number of times grade repeated, and the payment method for school meals. The at-risk students' perceived that a graduated licensing program would benefit teenagers more than did students' considered not at risk. Overall, high school students' perceived that a graduated licensing program in Mississippi would be beneficial to high school students.