A critical analysis of potential dropouts in the Bay d'Espoir-Hermitage-Fortune Bay integrated school board in the province of Newfoundland

Duncan, Ronald Edward (1973) A critical analysis of potential dropouts in the Bay d'Espoir-Hermitage-Fortune Bay integrated school board in the province of Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study of potential dropouts was carried out at the request of and with the cooperation of the Bay d'Espoir-Hermitage-Fortune Bay Integrated School Board in the Province of Newfoundland. The general objective was to initiate contact with students and teachers, and through their cooperation and assistance, obtain appropriate data relevant to the dropout situation within the schools under this Board which would then provide a factual basis for the Board to begin developing action plans to combat the problem. Out of this, 19 specific objectives for the study were developed. -- A review of the literature indicated wide areas of disagreement among researchers in the field. Differences in research design, sampling procedures and terminology made comparisons of some studies invalid. While writers did generally agree that low achievement was characteristic of the dropout, the reasons for this phenomenon were the source of many apparently contradictory research findings. Widespread agreement was found in the literature, however, when discussing socioeconomic factors and their affects on student motivation. The literature leads one to conclude that the most prevalent characteristics of the dropout are low levels of academic achievement and coming from families of lower socioeconomic status. -- Two assumptions were made in the conduct of this study. The first was that dropping out is a process, and as a result, the study of potential dropouts was a valid procedure for the purposes of this study. The second was that simply asking students if they were expecting to leave school before the end of Grade XI was an adequate way to identify potential dropouts. -- Two samples were used in the conduct of this study. In all cases, students considered potential dropouts were compared with a control group of potential persisters to ensure that the final conclusions would be based on factors which clearly identified one from the other. -- Data were obtained from questionnaires concerning attitudes toward school, family structure, socioeconomic bases of the families, self-ratings, teacher ratings and educational background. Marks and attendance were obtained from school records and standardized tests were used to measure intelligence, reading skills and social maturity. -- It was found that many of the basic trends reported in the literature were applicable to this school district. As a group, potential dropouts were found to be more heterogeneous than potential persisters. It was hypothesized that dropping out may be the result of one of two sets of predisposing forces. The first saw premature withdrawal as an ego protecting device. While potential dropouts considered educational goals to be important, they clearly recognized their own lack of success in reaching them within the public school. The second saw dropping out as the result of identification with significant others leading to the development of values and life styles inconsistent with the pursuit of studies. -- Usually, the potential dropout expressed the intention of getting out of the school system, finding a job and taking adult up-grading courses from the Vocational Schools when he reached the necessary age. The family background also played an important role with potential dropouts tending to come from families on Social Assistance more so than potential persisters. A family chain reaction effect was identified, with likelihood of dropping out increasing if the parents and one or more siblings had also been dropouts. The potential dropout emerged as a misfit within the classroom, although the reasons for this were multifarious. The major findings of a Newfoundland dropout study conducted by Sister Mary Perpetua Kennedy in 1966 were found to be operant up to the time of this study. -- Recommendations centred around the development of consistent methods of record keeping, greater contact and cooperation between the home and school, approaches to instruction and evaluation taking greater account of individual differences, the development of stronger student identification with the schools and the provision of adequate guidance services. In addition, recommendations for further research were made, and a checklist, based on the findings of this study, was constructed to help identify potential dropouts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4447
Item ID: 4447
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 133-136.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1973
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Dropouts--Newfoundland and Labrador

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