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Decomposing the Academic Failure—Dropout Relationship: A Longitudinal Analysis

Dianes S. Kaplan, B. Mitchell Peck and Howard B. Kaplan
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 90, No. 6 (Jul. - Aug., 1997), pp. 331-343
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27542115
Page Count: 13
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Decomposing the Academic Failure—Dropout Relationship: A Longitudinal Analysis
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Abstract

Data from a 4-wave panel (N = 1,195), tested in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades and as young adults, were used to estimate a causal model. The model was used to decompose a previously observed relationship between 7th-grade academic failure and later dropout behavior in terms of 5 theoretically informed mediating variables. The academic failure—dropout relationship was partially decomposed by the mediating effects of low motivation, association with deviant peers, and perception of rejection by the students at school. Although perception of rejection by teachers and resistance toward school were, as hypothesized, influenced by earlier negative academic experiences, they had no independent effects on dropping out net of their relationship to association with deviant peers or low motivation. Implications for current practice and future research are also discussed.

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