Trends Among High School Drop-Outs Shy Eisenbach Research 5301 TAMU-CC
RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research is to determine if students that dropped out of Stephenville High School from 2006-2008 attribute their decision to drop out as related to personal experience or issues related to their experiences with school. Studies have been conducted relating to this matter, but this study is meant to focus specifically on small, rural communities. This study hopes to answer the questions as to why students drop out: personal or school related reasons? High School Dropouts in Rural Areas
No matter the size of the school or community, the most common reason students drop out is due to course failures (Stevenson & Ellsworth, 2007). Grade retention is the other common reason students drop out (Kemp, 2006). Students to tend to disengage with their studies after failing a course (Kemp, 2006). Community health and well being, such as unemployment, crime rates, etc. contribute to the drop out rates of particular location (Wehlage, 1986) Common Themes within Literature: General facts about dropouts Literature Review
Many studies study drop out rates among minorities such as the study conducted by Piliawsky & Somers. This study looked at African American drop outs and prevention programs in a large, urban area (Piliawsky & Somers, 2004). Other studies like that of Stevenson and Ellsworth study drop out rates and reasons for dropping out at larger schools (Stevenson & Ellsworth, 2007) Current Studies Most studies relating to drop out rates and reasons students drop out use large schools, or schools with dense minority populations to conduct research. Literature Review
Current studies suggest that larger schools tend to have higher drop out rates (Wehlage, 1986). It is also suggested that consolidation of school districts deteriorates quality of schools (Marlow, 1997). Side note: Knowing this information, it would be helpful to study reasons students drop out of small schools as well, not just large districts. If consolidation of districts is taking place, it is important to see the impact this will cause on drop out rates. If studies reveal different, more preventative reasons students drop out of smaller schools, perhaps consolidating districts would be reconsidered? Current Studies Previous research has indicated that drop out rates are related to community size, and yet most research has been conducted on larger districts. Literature Review
Stevnson & Ellsworth, Kemp, and Wehlage all include the most common general reasons why students drop out. However, there was no information provided to decipher if there are any differences among small and large schools. Wehlage specifically states larger schools have higher drop out rates, but why? Why do smaller schools have lower drop out rates? Pilawsky & Somers studied minorty drop outs in a large school. But more research could be done in rural communities, and also minority drop outs in rural communities. There was no research found on this. Further Research NeededCurrent research is informative, but begs further research…
Personal Relationship to Topic Coming from a small, rural community, and after working with at risk populations in that community, I am curious to discover if there are differences among the reasons students attribute their decision to drop out. I specifically chose this topic after working at a local charter school in Stephenville, Texas. This charter school attracted 97% of at risk students, which obviously attributed to a high drop out rate at our school.
Personal Relationship to Topic However, after reviewing literature I found that very little research has been conducted on small schools and their drop out rates. The literature suggests that there are specific general factors that affect all drop out rates, such as grade retention and course failures. After those two factors, the reasons tend to vary. I am curious to see if there are variations among schools of various sizes.
Personal: Graduated in small town (graduating class of 13!) I come from a family of little education; mother and brother were drop outs Professional: Employed at a charter school at a rehab facility for youth in a small town Voices of students should be heard Would like to find reasons in hopes of drop out prevention programs Personal and Professional Investments
Assumptions: Differences exist among reasons students in small schools drop out in comparison to large schools Students will attribute dropping out as a related to personal reasons: to get a job, lazy, need to take care of family, etc. Predictions: Community size/school size will affect reasons students drop out Also, economic stability of the community affect reasons students drop out (Because smaller communities have smaller local economies, education more limited; also employment in smaller communities do not always require higher education.) Assumptions and Predictions
Goals of Research • Provide information representative of small communities/schools • Could provide information regarding minority drop outs in small schools (will their reasons differ from minorities at larger schools?) • Provide information in hopes of developing preventative programs specifically targeted at risk students in small communities (not all current prevention programs are feasible for small communities)
Works Cited Ellsworth, J. & Stevenson, R. (2006). Dropping out in a Working Class High School: adolescent voices in the decision to leave. British Journal of Sociology Education, 12:3. Kemp, S. (2006). Dropout Policies and Trends for Students With and Without Disabilities. Adolescence, 41(162):235-250. Available from MaterFile Premier. Accessed October 16, 2008. Marlow, M. (1997). Public Education Supply and Student Performance. Applied Economics, 29:617-626. Piliawsky, M. & Somers, C. (2004). Drop-out Prevention among Urban, African-American Adolescents: Program evaluation and practical implications. Preventing School failure, 48(3):17-22. Available from: Education Research Complete. Accessed October 18, 2008 Welhage, G. (1986). At-risk Students and the Need for High School Reform. Education, 107(1):18. Available from Education Research Complete. Accessed October 18, 2006.