Teachers’ and Administrators’ Perceptions of the Antecedents of School Dropout among English Language Learners at Selected Texas Schools
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This study examined teachers' and administrators' perceptions of English language learner dropout antecedents at 95 secondary schools in Texas targeting two goals. First, perceptions of ninth-grade dropout were assessed to identify push, pull, or falling-out factors of dropout. Push factors include school-related consequences like attendance or disciplinary infractions. Pull factors include out-of-school enticements like jobs and family. Finally, fall factors refer to student disconnection with school leading to dropout. Second, four categories of dropout factors (student demographics, student experiences, school factors, and instructional practices) were tested to see which had the highest perceived rank. The first research question assessed ninth-grade academic engagement and dropout antecedents among ELL dropouts. Engagement factors including persistence and previous preparation for high school were perceived as highly important qualities while discipline problems were a major challenge. Falling-out factors were perceived at the highest rank in causing ninth-grade ELL dropout. Among falling-out factors, lack of L1/L2 proficiency was cited as a chief cause, conflicting with nationally representative studies. Push factors, including low achievement, ranked second and pull factors, last. The second research question assessed perceptions of ELL dropout according to four ELL dropout categories. Antecedents related to student experiences ranked highest in causing ELL dropout, including language proficiency, employment, and parenting needs. Thus, ELL's were perceived as the primary reason for ELL dropout, concurring with nationally representative studies. Overall, ESL teachers and coordinators reported ninth-grade falling-out factors and pull factors during high school at higher rates than other respondents. They placed the major blame for dropout on events in student's lives luring them from school. Regular teachers reported that ninth-grade ELL dropouts profoundly struggled with language proficiency, lack of effort, and lack of belonging, suggesting that cumulative challenges of ELLs resulted in dropout. Administrators reported a strong link between retention and ELL dropout. When combined with regular teachers, both had a unified perception of blame for dropout being on factors at home and work. Findings suggest developing comprehensive dropout antecedent lists for ELLs, studying early and late ELL dropout, and incorporating a qualitative methodology in survey techniques.
Doll, Jonathan Jacob (2010). Teachers’ and Administrators’ Perceptions of the Antecedents of School Dropout among English Language Learners at Selected Texas Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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