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Social Factors, Enrollment in Vocational/Technical Courses, and High School Dropout Rates

Robert B. Pittman
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 84, No. 5 (May - Jun., 1991), pp. 288-295
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40539697
Page Count: 8
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Social Factors, Enrollment in Vocational/Technical Courses, and High School Dropout Rates
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Abstract

The question investigated was whether enrollment hi vocational/business courses has special "holding power" for students or whether personal, social characteristics were more salient hi the dropout decision. The data were taken from the first follow-up responses of the High School and Beyond survey. Public school students who had dropped out of school were compared with age mates who had graduated. The two groups were matched on the following variables: reading comprehension, socioeconomk status (SES), gender, geographic region, and community size. Using a path analytic approach with the data, I found that participation hi vocational/ business courses does not seem to be related to persistence. The variables that were identified as being most highly associated with dropout status reflected the influence of a student's social relationships within the school environment. Peer interest, sense of social belonging, and relationships with school staff were differentially linked to school interest for guis and boys. A parallel analysis was performed with a sample of students matched on reading comprehension, SES, gender, and attendance at the same high school. The results observed with that sample were comparable to those of the larger one.

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