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Chapter 9 – Are Educational Pathways Set in Stone from Kindergarten? | Dropouts 101

Chapter 9 – Are Educational Pathways Set in Stone from Kindergarten?

Our research clearly shows that dropouts appear to have different capabilities compared to graduates as early as Kindergarten. Having academic gaps from the beginning of school, being retained, and missing a lot of school at different grade levels all contribute toward dropout pathways that look very different from graduate pathways. Further, the gap between the developmental pathways of graduates and dropouts becomes more pronounced across developmental pathways as students move from early childhood to adolescence.

The results of this study are disturbing. We saw that the developmental pathways children started out on in Kindergarten become deterministic. In other words, once children started on a developmental pathway of dropping out or graduating in kindergarten, the outcome became inevitable. Regretfully, only two of sixty children in our study who started out on the developmental pathway as dropouts in kindergarten got “back on track” or jumped track to the developmental pathway of graduates. What factors or buffers did these students have and/or what experiences in their lives altered their developmental pathway and prevented them from dropping out of high school?