What Do We Know About Who Drops Out and Why?
Many studies identify predictors and variables associated with dropout. In recent years, these variables have been categorized according to the extent to which they can be influenced to change the trajectory leading to dropout.
Predictors and Factors Associated with Dropout for Students with Disabilities
Reasons for Dropping Out of and Staying in School
Many researchers have gathered information using surveys and interviews about why students drop out of school. These explanations have been categorized as “push” or “pull” effects (Jordan, McPartland, & Lara, 1999).
Students most often cite push factors as reasons for dropping out of school. In contrast to the identification of one primary reason for dropping out of school, the decision often appears to involve a host of factors (Kortering & Braziel, 1999).
Implications for Designing Interventions
Despite the extensive list of variables and predictors associated with dropout, the presence of one or more of these factors does not guarantee that a student will leave school early. However, the presence of multiple factors does increase the risk of dropout. The challenge is in using this information to target students who are in need of intervention based on efficient and accurate predictors. Targeting students who are most likely to drop out for intervention is complex.
Additionally, focusing on variables that educators and others can influence is important when thinking about designing and implementing interventions to enhance school completion for students with and without disabilities.
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Citation: Lehr, C. A., Johnson, D.
R., Bremer, C. D., Cosio, A., & Thompson, M. (2004). Essential
tools: Increasing rates of school completion: Moving from policy and research
to practice. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute
on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.
This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.