Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

William G. Cunningham

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Jane M. Hager

Committee Member

Stephen G. Greiner


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an urban middle school dropout prevention program on the academic achievement, attendance, attitudes toward self and school, and conflict resolution skills of potential dropout candidates. The study compared the differences in grade point averages and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores, percentages of absences, self concept and motivation towards school scores, and the percentage of suspensions of subjects in three middle schools in Portsmouth, Virginia. A review of literature revealed that traditional dropout prevention efforts have addressed the dropout dilemma with varying degrees of success. More recent dropout initiatives have focused on addressing the physical, social, psychological, and educational needs of at-risk students and early intervention. Additionally, the inclusion of a holistic dropout approach can have positive effects on school related dropout predictors of middle school students.

Three defined groups of middle school at-risk students represented levels of the independent variable. Subjects in group one (N = 32) were participants in the CAPP holistic dropout treatment at Cradock Middle School. Subjects in group two (N = 24) were members of an intact split grade level class at Hunt-Mapp Middle School who did not receive dropout intervention. This group served as a control group. Subjects in group three (N = 18) were assigned to an intact class at Churchland Middle School who participated in an academic remediation treatment. Post intervention data were collected from school records on grade point averages, Iowa composite scaled test scores, percentage of absences, and percentage of suspensions. One-way analyses of variance were used to analyze the dependent variables. A one-way analysis of variance was also employed to measure an attitude subscale relevant to conflict management. Additionally, postmeasures on five subscales of the School Attitude Measures inventory were collected and analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance.

The findings of the analyses revealed that the grade point averages and school attendance percentages for subjects in CAPP were significantly higher than subjects in the two comparison groups. CAPP subjects also scored higher, overall, on the attitude inventory.

As a result of this study, information was provided that contributed to the assessment of the Portsmouth Public Middle Schools dropout prevention program.


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