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Current Research Projects | Dropouts 101

Current Research Projects

Collaborative Research – Dr. Greg Hickman and Dr. Randy Heinrich

Attentional Biases Study. We are examining the attentional biases of high school students. Attentional biases are measured via reaction times to various school and non-school related cues presented at 1250ms via a computer program entitled E-Prime. We are seeking to know if high school dropouts respond quicker or shift their attention toward school-related cues as threatening compared to students who graduated from school. This longitudinal study is in its final year of a 2008 freshmen cohort. We have tested educational cues and are tracking graduation status and academic achievement. The results from this study could help with the development of a screening process to distinguish those at risk of dropping out of school for human service organizations.

Crossing Pathways Retention Study. We are examining the pathways of graduates who were once on dropout pathways. An extension of our Differential Developmental Pathways of High School Dropouts and Graduates study, we are seeking to understand at what point(s) in school trajectories did graduates crossover from dropout to graduate pathways and how do those graduates describe related experiences. The results from this study could help school and other human service practitioners with identification of critical intervention points and insights from those graduates uniquely positioned to understand how to crossover to success in schools.

Maricopa Community Colleges. Primary Investigator in the “Evaluation of Achieving a College Education (A.C.E.) Program.” This 5-year cross-sequential study will examine the impact of adolescents from over 80 high schools in the Phoenix whom are participating in the ACE program compared to adolescents not enrolled in the program. Partnerships with school districts have enabled obtainment of academic and behavioral variables for both the experimental and control groups. This research will also examine the predictive nature of who succeeds in ACE and which factors predict success as a programmatic whole and at each individual community college. The results of this research will enable program coordinators to focus on which areas of success and failure in an effort to retain children and identify which children succeed in the program.

The Impact of Free and/or Reduced Lunch on High States Testing. This research has demonstrated a trend when it comes to free and/or reduced lunch (FRL) and AIMS 3rd grade mathematical scores. Namely, the higher a school’s FRL the lower student’s 3rd grade AIMS mathematical scores. This pattern holds true regardless of how AIMS is reconfigured or scaled. My research is examining schools designated at 70% – 100 % FRL whose students score on average similar to students from schools designated at 0% – 30% FRL. The question is, how are some high poverty schools obtaining AIMS mathematical scores similar to low poverty schools? We have identified 59 schools designated at 70% – 100% FRL over the past five years whose 3rd grade students have scored on average similar to students from schools designated at 0% – 30% FRL. In addition, we have randomly selected 59 comparative schools designated at 70% – 100% FRL that have scored on average similar to other 70% – 100% FRL schools. A survey has been designed and sent to each of these 118 schools. The objective is to identify which factors differentiate schools that “beat the odds.” The results of this study will enable high poverty schools that do not “beat the odds” to identify factors that high poverty schools utilize to “beat the odds” in an effort to improve high stakes mathematical testing of 3rd grade students.

The Differential Influence of Paternal Parenting Styles on College Adjustment. This research study examines the differential influence of authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive paternal parenting styles on college grade point average and indices of college adjustment (i.e., personal-emotional, social, academic, commitment, and overall adjustment). This study examines controls for college student’s aptitude regarding outcomes. This study will enable universities to recognize the impact that paternal parenting styles has on various indices of college adjustment