Date of Award

Spring 1996

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Morris Beers

Second Advisor

Linda Schloner

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


Dropping out of high school is a persistent problem among adolescents, with complex factors and consequences for both the students and their community. High school dropouts experience higher rates of unemployment and lower lifelong earnings. Prior to dropping out, research demonstrates a host of difficulties among students, including behavioral problems, low academic achievement, poverty, unplanned pregnancy, and unstable family life. Students who eventually drop out report feeling disconnected to school and are less engaged in extracurricular activities. This study examines the attitudes of a group of adolescents, including students expecting to graduate high school, students who have left school and plan to pursue a GED, and students who have dropped out with no plan to complete high school. The author administers a self-created survey to the respondents, including questions about attitudes towards school, family life, psychological issues, and other factors. Many results do not differ significantly between groups. However, dropouts cite a dislike of school and difficulty with teachers as reasons for missing school and for dropping out, while continuing students overwhelmingly cite sickness as a reason for missing school. Dropouts also cite frequent suspensions and poor academic performance prior to dropping out.