Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction


Teacher Education

First Advisor

Deborah Chessin

Second Advisor

Sarah Blackwell

Third Advisor

Amy E. Wells Dolan

Relational Format



I investigated fifteen junior high counselors' understandings about student dropout, particularly about identification of and interventions for students at risk for dropping out of school. As an educator, I desired to research the phenomenon of student dropout to understand how to better reach these types of students. Research is available concerning student dropout from the perspectives of teachers, principals, and student dropouts; however, little research on student dropout from the viewpoint of counselors exists. I utilized a qualitative design, in particular a descriptive case study, to develop understanding of the counselors' perspectives of student dropout. Data collection included individual and focus group interviews, both through face-to-face and email; demographic surveys; and field notes recorded in a research journal. I utilized the constant comparison method to analyze my data and make connections among the conversations. The following four themes emerged after thoroughly analyzing my data and searching for commonalities: (a) it's like a cycle, (b) there's only so much we can do, (c) effective interventions are essential, and (d) dropout is more of a high school problem. After the discussion of my findings, I offer the following implications for future research: (a) creating K-12 alignment of dropout prevention, (b) understanding parental support, and (c) defining counselors' position in dropout prevention.



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