Date of Award

Winter 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Jane M. Hager

Committee Member

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

Patricia H. Fisher

Committee Member

Rebecca S. Bowers

Committee Member

Donna B. Evans


The purpose of this research was to examine the influence of reading achievement on the dropout status. The major research question was to determine to what extent does reading comprehension influence the dropout rate after controlling for demographic and performance characteristics?

The target population consisted of 677 urban twelfth-grade students attending schools in an urban southeastern school district in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Of the 677 students, 142 were dropouts, and 535 were nondropouts. Simple and partial correlations were used to determine the relationship between variables after partialing out performance and demographic variables. In addition, the discriminant analyses were used to determine the overall relationship between variables in predicting dropout status. Reading comprehension, gender, race, overage, grade retention, attendance, behavior, and socioeconomic status were variables used to determine whether discriminant analysis could be used to separate dropouts from nondropouts. The analyses were used to determine the influence of each variable on dropout status. The results of the analyses permitted the researcher to conclude that all variables influenced dropout status. However, retention had the greatest influence followed by absences, overage, and reading comprehension.


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