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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

T. C. Coleman

First Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins

Second Committee Member

David Baral

Third Committee Member

Marjorie Bruce

Fourth Committee Member

Xavier A. Del Buono


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to identify the causes that result in Hispanic youth dropping out of high school prematurely. Procedures. A questionnaire was mailed to 150 California high school principals. In addition, 32 Hispanic students who dropped out during the 1984-85 school year were interviewed. Findings. High school principals identified low achievement, employment, lack of parental support and truancy as the major causes for Hispanic students dropping out of school. Students on the other hand, identified only truancy as the most influential cause for leaving high school during the 1984-85 school year. Significant differences among principals' perceptions of causes were noted by principals in an urban setting. They placed more importance on employment, peer pressure, poor reading skills, poor math skills and truancy than did principals in a suburban and rural setting. Additionally, principals with increasing Hispanic student enrollment differed from principals with declining Hispanic student enrollment by placing more importance on employment, low teacher expectation, poor reading skills and truancy. Identified causes relating to school completion or non-completion provide implications for programs which address the needs of potential dropouts. These programs should furnish intensive academic remediation, small class size with varied course offerings, and academic incentives. Additionally, flexible scheduled school-based programs which promote student ties to potential employers and provide Hispanic students equal opportunity are suggested. Finally, truancy should be addressed prior to students reaching high school. School districts concerned with the dropout problem should develop better methods in the identification of dropouts and study current employment programs and the extent to which they meet Hispanic student needs. Recommendations. (1) Replication of this study should be made to determine the differences between factors that cause male and female students to drop out of school. (2) A study focusing on specific truancy factors, including causes, local practices, and truancy intervention programs is highly recommended. (3) A study related to the effectiveness of utilizing truance coordinators is highly recommended. (4) A study focusing on the correlation between English proficiency and student dropout rates is highly recommended.



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