A Comparison of Selected School Characteristics and Dropout Rate (West Virginia)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Arthur R. Southerland

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The research was designed to measure the relationship of public school dropout rate to the following school characteristics: school size, grade levels served, school achievement, level of disadvantagement, teacher turnover, principal tenure, presence of a dropout prevention program, and variable new enrollments. All public high school diploma awarding institutions in West Virginia were polled. A brief questionnaire was mailed to the principal of each school. Respondents were asked to provide school information on each of the variables compared. Seventy-three percent of the population polled responded. For each of the variables, mean scores, standard deviations, and N of cases were calculated. Multiple linear regression was used to test nine hypotheses. The relationship of composite variables, school organization characteristics, to dropout rate was found to be significant at the .05 level of significance. An R('2) difference of .6235 was interpreted to mean that the composite variable explained over 62% of variance in dropout rate. Tests of independent relationship of each variable in the composite variable to criterion were also conducted. Only the variable enrollment was found to have a significant independent relationship to dropout rate. Enrollment explained 33% of variance in dropout rate. Although school organization by grades served explained 2% of criterion variance, the relationship was nonsignificant. All other variables explained less than 1% of criterion variance.