Lisa TaylorFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Mark Lamport


Achievement Gap, Add Health, Relationship with Parents, School Engagement, Self-esteem, Student Connectedness Scores


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


he dropout population does not reflect an equal representation of all student subgroups (Kena et al., 2015). There are many negative outcomes that often coincide with the decision to drop out, such as lower overall lifetime income as well as emotional and physical fitness (Chapman, Laird, Ifill, & KewalRamani, 2011). This dissertation examines how graduation success varies by the social variables of school engagement, students’ closeness to parents, and self-esteem and the demographic variable of race through the lenses of the social development model (Hawkins & Weis, 1985), the school membership theory (Wehlage, 1989), and the self-determination theory (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991). Ex post facto data from the nationally representative public use data set from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) was used (Harris, 2009). The purpose of this correlational study was to discover the relationship between social factors and the demographic factor of race for participants of the Add Health study. Simple logistic regression analysis was used to test if there was a relationship between each factor, school engagement, self-esteem, closeness to parents, or race and graduation success. A relationship was found for school engagement and graduation success; however, all other null hypotheses were rejected. Implications for this study, limitations, and recommendations for future research were discussed.