School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Russell L Claxton


At-Risk, Dropouts, High School, Middle School, Transition


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


Although graduation rates are increasing in the United States, high school dropouts remain an issue of significant concern. Much of the focus of research in this area has been on describing the characteristics of dropouts rather than on developing effective interventions. Moreover, emerging research shows that potential dropouts can be identified with confidence as early as the sixth grade. High school is the time in which dropouts are typically identified and interventions begun, but the seeds of dropping out are often planted well before ninth grade. This survey research study with quantitative analysis used an instrument titled Teacher Perceptions of Dropout Factors and Interventions to examine the perceptions of dropout factors and dropout prevention methods of 165 core subject-area middle school and high school teachers in a school district in the southeastern United States. Results showed there were no statistically significant differences in the perceptions of middle school and high school teachers as to the importance of 18 specific risk factors. The study did find statistically significant differences in the perceptions of dropout prevention efforts and in the importance of the role of teachers in dropout prevention. The study further showed that in this particular district, middle school teachers had a higher perception of dropout prevention efforts and of the importance of teachers in dropout prevention than high school teachers did. Implications for practice to reach at-risk students are discussed as it relates to both middle and high schools, and areas for further research in this area are identified.