Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Educational Engagement and Degree Attainment among High School Dropouts

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Educational Engagement and Degree Attainment among High School Dropouts

Article excerpt

This research investigates the relationship between educational engagement and high school degree attainment among school dropouts. Educational engagement considered in this article focuses on student factors such as educational aspiration, organizational skills, and locus of control. Findings of this study show that self-concept engagement factors have a long-lasting impact on degree attainment, while school-related personal factors appear to be temporary. Fostering self-esteem, good study habits, and organizational skills while in school are significantly associated with eventual degree attainment among dropouts.


Engagement implies connection, participation, attachment, and integration in particular settings and tasks. Educational engagement entails behavioral, psychological, and cognitive components that reflect commitment to learning and successful academic performance (Caraway, Tucker, Reinke, & Hall, 2003). It involves the student's psychological investment in learning, comprehending, and mastering knowledge. Thus, educational engagement is more than motivation or general desire to succeed in education (Connell, Halpern-Felsher, Clifford, Crichlow, & Usinger, 1995). High levels of educational engagement are associated with lower dropout rates and lower teen pregnancy rates (Monlove, 1998). On the other hand, disengagement involves isolation, alienation, detachment, and separation. Lack of school engagement among adolescents results in serious consequences such as increased risk for school dropout, substance use, teenage pregnancy, and criminal activity (Caraway et al. 2003).

Students' level of engagement can be assessed through the way they complete class work, whether they maintain educational expectations or aspirations for themselves, whether they complete homework on time, whether they control their TV watching, whether they attend class regularly, and whether they participate in class discussions and other school activities.

In this study, we explore student factors of educational engagement, one aspect of educational attachment, as it relates to degree attainment among dropouts. Considerable research has been found that there was the association between school factors and school dropout (Connell et al., 1995; Monlove, 1998). School factors frequently considered include relationship with teachers, peer networks, and connections to school. These factors were found to be significant while youths were still enrolled in school, but not after they had already dropped out. This study focuses on the adolescents who already dropped out of school, most of whom obtained high school credentials through the General Education Development (GED) in place of a high school diploma. We believe that student factors have a major impact on dropouts' degree attainment. Little research has been conducted about how dropouts go about high school education in out-of-school settings, how they self-regulate their learning in these settings, and whether educational engagement in school has long-term effects on their degree attainment. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the impact of educational engagement on degree attainment among dropouts. More specifically, we investigate the impact of 8th graders' educational expectations, organizational skills, locus of control, study habits, time-use efficiency, self-esteem, and absences on high school degree attainment among dropouts. The next section of this paper reviews the literature. Section describes the data and provides a description of the statistical methodology. section IV explains the logistic regression model. section V discusses the results and implications of the findings.

Educational engagement and school completion

Across the nation, today's schools are seeking ways to increase academic achievement and reduce the dropout rate. A great deal of research has been conducted in an effort to identify factors that contribute to dropping out of school before high school graduation. …

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