School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Verlyn Evans


credit recovery programs, high school dropouts, IEP, retention, special eduaction, special education teachers


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology


This case study explores the experiences of students with disabilities who have dropped out of high school, so as to identify related factors that led to their decisions. Participants included both males and females who were designated as students with disabilities at Ridgeville High School (pseudonym for a Virginia high school) and who dropped out between their third and fourth years of high school, during the 2010 to 2014 academic years. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 24. The case study was conducted through the use of semi-structured interviews, journaling, and observation of the sample population, with the aim of identifying common experiences among students who have dropped out of school close to graduation. The results of the semi-structured interviews were examined using reductive qualitative analysis, which included the use of coding and extraction of themes. The study results indicated that the overall sense of belonging of the students was low. The attitude of the students towards themselves, especially the nature of their disability, was another aspect that was found to be a great determinant of the reasons connected with high dropout rates of students with disabilities. The students also believed that more effort is needed from the teachers, their peers and the schools to help them in the school environment.