Research Methods: School Dropout

Studies on school dropouts date back to the pioneers of the 20th century, and they extend to modern times, revealing trends, contributing factors, and prevention strategies. However, the particular causes of school dropouts determined by different studies have never been analyzed together. Such an analysis could result to a better comprehension of the dropout issue. The problem of dropping out affects not only high school students but also university and college students. The paper will expound on the issue of the increased rate of high school students’ dropouts.

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Predictors of School Dropout

Many factors, including the traits of character of students, parents, and teachers, contribute to dropouts among high school students. Studies have shown that the most significant contributor to this issue is the academic achievement (Doll, Eslami, & Walters, 2013). According to Archambault et al. (2009), many scholars agree that the school achievement in elementary or secondary schools, whether evaluated using the level of numeracy and literacy skills, test scores, average grade points, and exam success, all are reliable predictors of school dropouts. Another predictor of dropping out of school is grade retention. Studies show that grade retention is linked to the stigma of not being intelligent, lagging behind, or being a failure (Doll, Eslami, & Walters, 2013). In addition, the researchers agree that other factors “removing” students from high school include employment and teenage pregnancy (Archambault et al., 2009). Substance abuse also contributes to this problem, especially the abuse of Cannabis sativa. Family-related factors include lower social class, family structure, and poor child-parent relationships (Oreopoulos, 2007).  According to Oreopoulos (2007), school related factors encompass the school type, whether public or private, high “retention power,” and school resources. These factors should be addressed adequately to reduce the dropout rates among high school students. 

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School Dropout Stereotypes

Educational institutions should address the issue of school dropout stereotypes, since this factor worsens the problem. Many students drop out of school because of focusing on risk factors like home language, place of residence, income, race, ethnicity, parental education, and gender. These school dropout stereotypes create an impression of leaving school early as a natural process (Archambault et al., 2009).   In this case, the focus should shift from viewing school dropouts as failures and associating education with increased cost to see the problem as an origin or indication of fundamental inequities. This focus can help to see school attendance and completion as every citizen’s essential right safeguarded by the constitution (Doll, Eslami, & Walters, 2013). School dropouts are associated with many causes and ramifications that are usually difficult to understand. Some people link school dropouts with unemployment and delinquency (Archambault et al., 2009). However, a study conducted in the United States revealed that most students who drop out of school do it for their personal reasons, and they do not necessarily engaging in deliquescent behavior (Doll, Eslami, & Walters, 2013). Likewise, studies show that there is ambiguity in linking dropping out of school to unemployment (Oreopoulos, 2007). People should view education completion as a constitutional right to reduce the rate of school dropout.

School Dropout Prevention Policies

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The policies preventing school dropouts should affect both students, parents, and teachers, among other factors. Many scholars recommend that students’ retention should be reduced, and low academic achievers should have counselors and mentors to motivate them to work hard (Archambault et al., 2009). They also recommend that students’ employment should be discouraged. In addition, scholars suggest that parents should be involved in students counseling, family income should be increased, and the creation of a better child-parent relationship should take place (Oreopoulos, 2007). Teachers should understand the individual needs of each student and foster a good student-instructor relationship. Studies show that the creation of a conducive learning environment by schools reduces the rate of school dropouts significantly (Doll, Eslami, & Walters, 2013). As a result, the implementation of these policies can decrease the rate of school dropouts significantly.

The issue of school dropouts creates both economic and social problems not only to the students but also to the whole society. Many countries worldwide are struggling to increase the rates of students’ graduation. The education stakeholders should understand the causes and predictors of school dropouts and address them. The issue of stereotypes plays a major role in justifying the reasons for dropping out of school. Scholars have recommended practical policies that can help address this vice. The only hope is that this problem can be eliminated if all stakeholders combine efforts to resolve it.

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