5). The study will make use of purposive sampling, which “groups participants according to preselected criteria relevant to a particular research question” (Mack, et al., 2005, p. 5). In this case, the sample will be limited to third and fourth year high school students with disabilities who dropped out of Ridgeville High School during the 2007-2008 school years. 92 Demographics. The demographics of the sample population will be determined during the preliminary data collection procedure wherein the school records of the future participants will be accessed with the school administration’s permission. Age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic background, native language, region, mobility, ability, disability, parental employment, and family structure are the categories for status variables that will be identified for each special education high school dropout (Lehr, et al., 2004, p. 12). These variables will comprise the demographics of the study. Because demographics inherently work with statistics, the researcher will tally the results to be able to compute percentages per category. The demographics will follow the list of status variables that are commonly used by dropout prevention researchers. 93 Setting/Site 93 Replication of the Study 94 The Researcher’s Role 94 Data Collection Procedures 95 In-depth Interviews 96 Qualitative Data Analysis 99 The Coding Process 99 Trustworthiness 102 Ethical Considerations 103 APPENDIX A 116 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION High School Dropout Concerns The Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center (2010) conducted a national report, which states that approximately 1.3 million youth drop out of high school every year. However, the White House (as cited in America’s...
Because an American’s financial stability and professional achievement have primarily depended on his educational attainment, obtaining a high school diploma significantly enhances an American’s potential to build a solid foundation for achieving professional success (Shore, 2003). “High school graduation captures both the cognitive and the non-cognitive attributes that are important for success in adulthood, and it is usually a minimum requirement for engaging in further training and higher education” (Levin, 2009, p. 8). Earning a high school diploma generally constitutes the initial step one takes to begin to successfully secure higher education. Higher education, in turn, characteristically stimulates and enhances the number of opportunities one receives in their chosen profession.
A student who does not graduate from high school encounters increasing challenges in securing employment with the increasingly competitive market and the ongoing recession narrowing his potential prospects even more. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010a) report, in January of 2010, “thirty states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 9 states registered rate decreases, and 11 states had no rate change.” Another report released in July 2010 purports that despite the current federal administration’s campaign to control the onslaught of an economic depression, the unemployment rate has not changed across all states; remaining at 9.50%.