Addressing factors that place students at-risk of dropping out of school : a developmental perspective Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sf268756d

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  • The majority of today's youth succeed in the traditional educational classroom. However, greater numbers of our children are not experiencing success in the traditional classroom and are at-risk of dropping out of school before completing graduation requirements. The magnitude and urgency of this problem was addressed in 1990 by the National Goals 2000 report. Even with this increase in awareness, the dropout rates have not decreased. This qualitative study addressed two questions: 1) Do childhood developmental deficiencies create factors which place a child at-risk of dropping out of school before completing graduation requirements?; 2) Can the practice of education intervene and reduce dropout potential? The research was framed by an examination of theories of child development by Bowlby (Attachment Theory), Erikson (Psychosocial Development), and Bandura (Social Learning Theory). Factors that place a student at risk of dropping out of school were also examined. The at-risk students in an Alternative Education Classroom from a high school in a rural community were asked to write a history of their school lives. The histories of nine of these students were used to provide insight into the developmental milestones of these students. Follow-up interviews were conducted with all students and their parents. All interviews were separate and confidential. School records of the nine students were reviewed to provide additional validation to the memories of the students and their parents. The results were triangulated back to the theoretical perspectives of Bowlby, Erickson, and Bandura. The data reflected a strong correlation between negative development and factors that were noted in the school histories. The data also, reinforced the importance of the classroom teacher/student relationship. This data infers that school dropout rates can decrease with insightful programming that involves the community working together to impact in a positive manner the developmental factors that place students at-risk.
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