A comparison of selected educational, family, and personal characteristics of at-risk students and at-risk persisters

Willie Mae Peete, Tennessee State University


Background and purpose. Student attrition in the nation's public schools is a major concern for educators, parents, and society. The highest dropout rate seems to occur among schools with large minority populations and low income bases. A student who is behind in one or more grades and is in constant conflict with the school is more at-risk to dropping out. The purpose of this study was to determine the correlation between educational, personal, and family characteristics and the incidence of dropping out between at-risk students and at-risk persisters. Factors used to measure this correlation were academic predictors, race, gender, student work habits, income, parental presence in the home, and the educational levels of the parents. Method. One hundred students from two comprehensive high schools who were identified as at-risk students, and fifty dropout students were included in the study. The population sample and the schools were similar in racial and economic compositions and in their dropout rates. A questionnaire and information recorded in cumulative records were used to gather the data. The questionnaire was completed by students in a classroom setting. Data were tabulated and interpreted according to responses made by participants. Parametric statistical test, One-Way ANOVA, and an independent t test were used to show whether there was a significance among the groups at the.05 level. Chi square was used to analyze most data obtained from the questionnaire. Results. There were no significant differences at the.05 level among groups in terms of academic performance, personal, or family characteristics. Although the three groups were compatible on the factors measured, dropouts surveyed expressed a disinterest in school even if they were performing well at the time of their departure.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Willie Mae Peete, "A comparison of selected educational, family, and personal characteristics of at-risk students and at-risk persisters" (1989). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9017227.