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Paths to High School Graduation or Dropout: A Longitudinal Study of a First-Grade Cohort

Margaret E. Ensminger and Anita L. Slusarcick
Sociology of Education
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 95-113
DOI: 10.2307/2112677
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112677
Page Count: 19
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Paths to High School Graduation or Dropout: A Longitudinal Study of a First-Grade Cohort
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Abstract

This prospective longitudinal study examined the developmental paths toward high school graduation or dropout for a cohort of 1,242 Black first graders from an urban community who were at a high risk for school dropout. Over half those with school records did not graduate. Dropouts were compared with graduates in their first-grade school performance, family background, family environment, and educational hopes and expectations. Both low grades and aggressive behavior in first grade led to later dropout for males. The impact of maternal education and poverty was through their interaction with individual characteristics. The links between early school performance and later high school graduation were not as strong for those from backgrounds of poverty as for those who were not poor. Having a mother with at least a high school education increased the likelihood that males who performed poorly in first grade or who had low educational expectations as adolescents would graduate. Being from a mother-father family was protective for the girls. Strict rules regarding school reported during adolescence helped the females compensate for early poor performance.

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