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Opportunities, Costs, and High School Completion in West Virginia: A Replication of Florida Research

Robert Bickel and Linda Lange
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 88, No. 6 (Jul. - Aug., 1995), pp. 363-370
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27541999
Page Count: 8
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Opportunities, Costs, and High School Completion in West Virginia: A Replication of Florida Research
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Abstract

Usual explanations of why students drop out of high school focus on characteristics of individual students, their families, and their particular schools. Although this research is informative, it ignores structurally determined contextual factors, especially the prevailing and anticipated opportunities and social and psychological costs associated with continued investment in secondary education. School district—level data for West Virginia in 1986—87 were used to investigate the value of focusing on structurally determined opportunities and costs to explain dropping out. This research builds on two previous Florida analyses and one previous West Virginia analysis that addressed the same issue and that have been reported elsewhere. Limitations of the earlier West Virginia research were addressed in the present study, which replicates the second Florida analysis. Insofar as similar relationships hold in states as different as Florida and West Virginia, the plausibility of the present findings is enhanced. Also, insofar as relationships hold up under a variety of analytical procedures, increased confidence in the value of the present findings seems justified.

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