Profile Differences Between High School Dropouts Enrolled in a Quickstart GED Program and High School Students In Two South Mississippi Counties


Diane Roberts

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Bobby D. Anderson

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of this study was to develop a profile of the school dropout enrolled in a QuickStart GED program. The common characteristics of the school dropouts in this program were examined to determine if they differed in selected ways from the characteristics of students who were enrolled in the public school. The ultimate goal was to provide the public schools in two south Mississippi counties with a profile of the student who is at risk of becoming a dropout. One group of subjects for this study consisted of ninety-four students enrolled in a QuickStart GED program administered by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Literacy Office. These students were between 16 and 21 years of age, school dropouts, and were required to be JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) certified upon entering this program. The second group of subjects for this study was the in-school population in the same two counties where the QuickStart GED classes were located. These groups were compared to determine if there was a significant difference between the sample of dropouts in the QuickStart GED program and the in-school population on the variables of gender, race, and school lunch status. School lunch status was determined by whether the student qualified for free lunch, reduced lunch, or paid full price for lunch. The hypotheses were tested using the chi-square test of independence. It was determined that there was a significant difference between these groups on the variables of gender and school lunch status. There was no significant difference between these two groups on the variable of race. Descriptive data pertaining to the factors of retention, age when the student dropped out of school, pregnancy, educational level of parents, and family structure were obtained for the school dropout. The findings from this data showed the most common age for dropping out was sixteen. Seventy-three percent of the students had been retained at least once. Forty-seven percent of the students came from a single-parent home, and most of the students had parents who did not finish high school. Twenty-three percent of the females indicated they were pregnant when they dropped out of school.