Alienation and other factors affecting the senior high school dropout in St. John's, Newfoundland

Gillespie, Roberta Anne Kennedy (1978) Alienation and other factors affecting the senior high school dropout in St. John's, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The 'school dropout' appears to be one of the most widely researched individuals in education. Yet, despite all the research and findings, there are still dropouts. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the lowest retention rates in Canada. This study investigates many of the traditional variables affecting the high school dropout. These variables are grouped under five categories: individual factors, family, school, peer group, and community. A further category, alienation, is examined as a possible broader framework or context into which the "dropping out" phenomenon can be placed. -- Methodologically this research differs from other Newfoundland studies in that a personal, in-depth approach was used. Thirty senior high school dropouts and a control group of twenty-nine non-dropouts were interviewed at length by the researcher. This method allowed for clarification of the questioning when necessary, and removed possible ambiguity in participants' answers. In order to measure the degree of alienation experienced by the participants, and to determine whether dropouts differed from non-dropouts, an attitude questionnaire was administered to the fifty-nine young people. -- The findings of the study show that the dropouts exhibited some of the characteristics of the 'classic' dropouts of previous studies. The dropouts were older than 'normal' for their grade; they tended to be enrolled in 'General' rather than 'Academic' programs of study. The dropout group had had more of their brothers and sisters leave school before graduation than did the non-dropouts. Peer group influence also seemed to be evident. More of the dropouts closest friends were dropouts themselves than were the friends of non-dropouts. The two 'classic' variables, parental schooling and occupation, were not the discriminating factors in this study that they have been in previous research. -- One of the more conclusive findings was in the area of alienation. Dropouts exhibited a significantly greater degree of alienation from the school organization than did non-dropouts. This, coupled with the fact that dropouts consistently gave 'school'-related reasons for 'dropping out', focuses attention on the school as the area for attention and action. -- The recommendations of the study emphasize the need for the schools to capitalize on the interests and aptitudes of students so that the latter can feel a sense of success and achievement. The importance of dropout prevention programs, vocational games, and extra-curricular activities are stressed as meaningful participation for students who often feel they are misfits in the educational system. The role of educational administrators is seen as critical in alleviating the situation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7730
Item ID: 7730
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 147-152.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1978
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: High school dropouts--Newfoundland and Labrador

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