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When and Why Dropouts Leave High School

NCJ Number
Youth & Society Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: September 2006 Pages: 29-57
Elizabeth Stearns; Elizabeth J. Glennie
Date Published
September 2006
29 pages
Using student data from all public high schools in North Carolina, this study examined whether the reasons high school dropouts left school varied across grade level and age.
Overall, dropout reasons were found to vary by age, grade, ethnicity, and gender. Students in ninth grade and students aged 16 years and younger were more likely to leave for disciplinary reasons while older male students were more likely to dropout for employment. Other findings revealed that only 6.5 percent of 9th grade dropouts left because of academic reasons but by 12th grade 10.4 percent of dropouts left because of academics. Females were more likely than males to leave school for family reasons, with Latinas in every grade most likely to leave for this reason. The findings failed to support the notion that there was a dropout process by highlighting the variances between students in their reasons for leaving school. Data on every 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student in North Carolina’s public schools for the 1998 and 1999 school years were drawn from the North Carolina Education Research Data Center at Duke University. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the extent to which dropout rates and dropout reasons varied by grade level and by ethnic and gender groups. Hierarchical logistical regression models and multivariate models were used to examine the extent to which the dropout reasons varied by: (1) ethnicity and gender; (2) grade level; and (3) age. Future research should examine how disciplinary actions taken by schools affect dropout behavior. Tables, notes, references


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