Date of Award

Summer 8-2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Michael Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


There has been much research in the past two decades about the dropout problem in America. Dropout rates have become a focal point for all public schools in the nation largely due to components of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Dropout Prevention Act that associate monetary rewards to schools that raise the graduation completion rates to 90%. The dropout rates for the United States rank the educational system 17th for graduation completion rates among developed countries. Mississippi has repeatedly earned the title of low-ranking among all states in the nation.

Dropping out of high school is followed by a host of poor outcomes. When individuals drop out of high school it creates a loss of productive workers and revenues in the economy while creating higher costs associated with social services. Mississippi's dropout rates are an indicator that students are inadequately prepared for entrance into in a highly competitive technologically advanced global work force. Abstract thinking and deductive reasoning are becoming more important in the labor market and public schools are expected to produce graduates who have obtained these academic and social skills so they will be successful in their adult lives.

The goal of this research was to examine student data to determine whether relationships existed among the variables of retention, social promotion, and dropout rates in Mississippi within the context of high stakes testing mandates. The results of the analysis of statistics for the 29,500 students that were enrolled in the 9th grade during the 2005-2006 school year do not show a significant relationship among retention, social promotion and dropout rates in Mississippi within the context of high stakes testing. The goal of this study was to present findings that will help educators and administrators implement strategies for their local district dropout prevention plans to improve the dropout rates within their districts.