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Chapter 2 – Methodology of Do Children Drop Out of School in Kindergarten? | Dropouts 101

Chapter 2 – Methodology of Do Children Drop Out of School in Kindergarten?

Do Children Drop Out of School in Kindergarten? was based on two research questions. First, do differences exist in the developmental pathways of high school graduates and high school dropouts? Second, if differences do exist, when and where do these differences occur?

Official school data were obtained by randomly choosing 120 school records from four school year groups (2002-2005) from a school district in northeast Arizona. Sixty graduating students and sixty dropouts were randomly chosen from the 2002-2005 school groups. Females comprised 49.2% of the sample, males 50.8%. The ethnic representation included Caucasian-American (77.8%), Hispanic (15.7%), and Native American (6.5%) students, a ratio similar to school and Arizona state populations. Average family income for families living within the school district area was $29,500.00.

Participants in this study were students enrolled in the 2002- 2005 cohorts. We examined the contents of the students’ school files. Each file contained report cards, progress reports, letters to parents, attendance records, disciplinary infractions, family background variables such as family size, siblings, and parental occupation, standardized tests scores, high school transcripts, earned credit hours, and the graduation or dropout date. In addition, official county juvenile court records were obtained for those students in the sample who received such services.

Variables were measured and obtained via official school and county juvenile court records. Variables included (a) specific subject and course grades; (b) grade point average; (c) core classes; (d) proficiency test scores; (e) grade retention; (f) absenteeism; (g) family and demographic variables; and (h) county juvenile court record.