Dropping Out or Pushed Out: The Impact of High School Dropout Rate Relative to High Stakes Testing Policy in Wayne County, State of Michigan
Dropping Out or Pushed Out: The Impact of High School Dropout Rate Relative to High Stakes Testing Policy in Wayne County, State of Michigan
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The high school dropout rates in the USA are high such that only 70% of students in public high schools graduate Green, & Foster, 2003). High dropout problem is what school administrators, parents and policy makers have had to deal with for the past several decades across the USA including in the state of Michigan. Some researchers attribute high stakes testing as one of the reasons for increasing high school dropout rates (Jacob, 2001). High stakes testing can affect the success of a child's future and it is still a problem that needs to be addressed by not only school administrators and parents but also by the policy makers. High stakes tests are tests from which results are used to make significant educational decisions about schools, teachers, administrators, and students. High stakes testing policies have consequences for schools, for teachers, and for students (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). These consequences vary from state to state. Schools could be rewarded or closed or reorganized as a result of the performance on the high stakes examinations. Teachers and administrators, also, could be rewarded or removed as a result of the performance under the high stakes testing policy.
The purpose of this quantitative correlative study is to examine what, if any, relationship exists between high stakes testing and the dropout rates, especially in Wayne county, Michigan state. The study would comparatively assess the changes, if any that occurred in the past 20 years and also among minority student populations. Information in regards to these changes is lacking in the existing literature. The most significant consequence is attached to the students. For example, a study shows that students who drop out from schools are more likely than other students, who graduate from schools, to experience health problems, get involved in criminal activities, and become dependent on welfare and other government programs (Martin, Tobin, & Sugai, 2002). In essence, since high school students make up part of the social system in our society and they contribute to the functioning of the system, their activities negatively or positively affect how the society functions.
Background of the Problem
Latest modifications in the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ incorporate flexibility in following federal instructions in every state, including the state of Michigan is required to carry out test for students on a yearly basis in reading as well as in mathematics from third to eighth grade and twelve grades once a year and during high school years (Glennie et al, 2012). Research indicates that a considerable number of teachers do not approve high stakes tests. According to Dutro & Selland (2012), educators think there is a huge amount of tests, and the results are not of significant help to teachers and are often misinterpreted by students. However, the high stakes linked to standardized testing compels educators to modify their teaching approach in order to enhance student's test scores (Hemelt & Marcotte, 2013). However, according to Jacob & Thomas (2006), 613,379 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 during the school year of 2007-08 left school without successfully completing a high school program.
Furthermore, the recent trend of adoption of high stakes testing policy by states may be contributing to the problem of high school dropouts. To discover the impact of the high stakes testing policy and factors that are responsible for causing the increase of high school dropouts in the United States, this research will use a panel data set on the 50 states in the U.S. and employ quantitative methods.
Theoretical Foundations and Review of the Literature/Themes
The foregoing literature analysis suggests that the high school dropout rate is a persistent and ever increasing problem across the USA, including the state of Michigan. While researchers investigated a variety reasons for the increasing high school dropout rates, it is not known if and to what extent the relationship between the standardized test performance and the attendance rates continues to prevail at present among minority high school students in Wayne county, Michigan. It is also not known if the problem has exacerbated in recent years, particularly among minority students. There is substantial verification according to which there may be an increased number of dropouts and decreased level of graduating students who are pushed out of school because of high stakes, knowing that they are not going to be promoted (Segool, 2013; Thompson & Allen, 2012; Yi et al, 2012). One study shows that students who drop out from schools are more likely than other students, who graduate from schools, to experience health problems, get involved in criminal activities, and become dependent on welfare and other government programs (Martin, Tobin, & Sugai, 2002). Research studies addressing the changes or the stability over a period in school dropout rates are limited. One such study examined the year-to-year changes in dropout rates and their relation to variables such as school remedy measures (Fetler, 1989). The results showed that higher student achievement can enhance the effectiveness of dropout treatment programs and it is imperative that additional studies be carried out to identify the variables inherent to a locality and community such that we promote appropriate treatment programs.
Research Question(s) and Phenomenon or Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Variables
The Research Question(s)and PhenomenonorResearch Questions and Hypothesis the Prospectus
For many decades, researchers have examined a number of factors that would contribute to the high school dropout problems (Chapman, Laird, & KewalRamani, 2010; Battin-Pearson, 2000; Rumberger, 1987). Based on the findings, policy makers, educators, and public administrators have been tackling the problem. However, their efforts have not created the ideal environment for the students who leave their schools. Besides the preexisting factors, the recent trend of adoption of high stakes testing policy presents another controversy to the schools.
In the present research, the writer intends to brdge the gaps in knowledge as identified above. The data and information gained from the research can be helpful in addressing the problem of student dropout, particularly the minority students. Schools may not be capable of closing the achievement gaps among the minority students without resolving the social problems. The goals are to address the social problems through more funding, adequate remediation instruction and improved social infrastructure that are essential to Wayne county, Michigan.
Quantitative (Research Questions, Hypotheses and Variables)
Independent Variables: income, gender, age, demographics, crime rate
Dependent Variables: dropout rate
- What is the present status of the minority high school student dropout rate in Wayne county, Michigan?
- How does it compare to the rates existing in prior decades?
- What are the key factors responsible for minority high school students’ dropping out of schools in Wayne county, Michigan?
- How does the high stakes testing policy affect the high school dropout rates among general population vs. minority students?
A Mixed Research Study (Includes both the Quantitative andQualitative Sections from above).
NOTE: A Mixed Methods Study approach is generally not recommended unless the learner has a significant amount of extra time to master both the qualitative and quantitative designs, collect the qualitative and quantitative data,as well as, learn how to do both the quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
NOTE: Hypotheses are not required for quantitative descriptive survey studies.
Significance of the Study
Educational initiatives involving highstakes testing and common state standards have been highlighted greatly as a way of ascertaining and improving the educational accomplishment status of high school students. Most of these programs, if not all, encompass inclusion of some kind of standardized tests to make high stakes decisions on whether a student is “promoted or retained” (Au, 2014). Such trends in education are somewhat alarming because minorities, and some other disadvantaged sets of students are already having a comparatively higher failure ratio and not well equipped to tackle standardized test formats. The present study intends to establish the current status of the dropout rates among minority in Wayne county and identify the most important factors for high dropout rates, if they continue to exist. Our research results can help establish programs geared towards mitigating the key factors for high dropout rates, in particular the minority.
Rationale for Methodology
This study will adopt the quantitative approach to find out the links, if any, between high stakes, testing and number of high school dropouts.
This study will explain the connection between high stakes testing and the dropout rate of high school students. Here, high stakes testing will be taken as an independent variable and dropout rate will be taken as a dependent variable. In order to find out whether high stakes testing has raised the number of dropout students in Michigan, the dropout rate before and after the implementation of high stakes testing will be calculated and compared using the t test.
Nature of the Research Design for the Study
This quantitative study will explain the connection between high stakes testing and the dropout rate of high school students. Here, high stakes testing will be taken as an independent variable and dropout rate will be taken as a dependent variable. In order to find out whether high stakes testing has raised the number of dropout students in Michigan, the dropout rate before and after the implementation of high stakes testing will be calculated and compared using the t test.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to look at the issues related to high stakes testing and find out if it can be predicted that high stakes testing raises the rate of students who dropped out or pushed out from high schools.According to the research carried out by Rumberger & Palardy in (2005), the majority of the work was regarding the influence of high stakes testing on high school dropout is somewhat limited to handling these tests as a negative factor which compels the students each year to leave studies. The writers highlight the need of the research that can stay unbiased, and clearly as well as honestly shows the dropout rate before and after the introduction of high stakes testing.This study will also offer a considerable base line for upcoming research work that could compare the Michigan proficiency test with a state that utilizes the similar test as a graduation prerequisite.
Moreover, this study will also very briefly touch other factors that may influence high stakes test scores but often overlooked, such as the financial condition of students and also of their respective educational institutions. It is essential to know the way social and economic aspects could influence testing due to the high stakes dependent on these scores.
Creswell (2009) provided some sample scripts for developing purpose statements aligned with the different research methods (qualitative/quantitative/mixed)as follows:
The purpose of this qualitative ______________ (case study, ethnography) is to _________ (understand, describe, explore, develop) the ____________________ (phenomenon being studied) for _______ (participants) at ________________ (research site/geographical location). At this stage in the research, the __________________ (central phenomenon being studied) will be generally be defined as ___________ (provide a general definition).
The purpose of this quantitative __________ (correlational, descriptive, etc.) research is to ____________ (compare or see to what degree a relationship exists) between/among ______________________ (independent variable) to ___________________ (dependent variable) for ________________ (participants) at ___________________ (research site/geographical location). The independent variable ________ will be defined/measured as/by _______ (provide a general definition). The dependent variable will be defined/measured as/by ______ (provide a general definition).
The purpose of this mixed methods study will be to explore participant views with the intent of using this information to develop and test an instrument with a sample from a population. The first phase will be a qualitative exploration of _______________ (central phenomenon) by collecting _____ (data) from _____ (participants) at __________ (geographical location/research site). The second phase will use a quantitative research method. Themes from this qualitative data will be developed into an instrument (or a ______ instrument will be used) to (related, compare) ________ (the independent variable) with _________ (dependent variable) for _________ sample of population) at __________ (geographical research site).
Please note that Creswell may notbe cited as an authoritative resource to justify the methodology, design or statistics.Primary, authoritative sources from the scholarly literature must be used. Creswell is an excellent introductory research textbook with excellent educational examples such as above.However, it is considered asecondary source, like most textbooks, and therefore, is only used for training and education purposes.
Instrumentationor Sources of Data
Dropout rates among high school students in Michigan will be collected from the state’s educational department.Moreover, the administration of high schools will also be contacted, if needed, to verify the data. The data gathered will only be shown in the form of the combined number of dropouts and the percentage of high school students who did not graduate.
Quantitative Data Collection Procedures
The population for this study includes students in Michigan, who attended high schools during 2000 to 2010. The information will be collected about all the students who dropped out of high school before the implementation of high stakes testing. The trend will then be compared to the number of students who dropped out after high stakes testing policy put in place. Confidentiality will be assured at all levels of this study and hence, names test / examination results, and grades of the students will not be.
A table that provides the estimated high stakes testing policy effect on high school dropouts along with other factors. A feasible generalized least square estimates on a panel data set that will be computed to predict the percentage of the high school dropout based on the program, poverty rate, unemployment rate, educational attainment of 25 and over, student/teacher ratio, expenditure per student, household income, school size, population change rate, attendance rate, pregnancy rate, the percentage of Black, the percentage of Hispanic, percentage of Asian, and percentage of Native Americans.
Quantitative Data Analysis Procedures
Schools: Public Schools
Level: High School
In this quantitative study, Michigan States in the experimental group of Wayne county, since the data period was between 2009 and 2014. Michigan implemented or planned to implement after the high stakes testing policy after the year of 2009. The names of the counties in both experimental group and the control group will be presented in the later chapter.
In this study, the poverty rate is an independent variable that controls for the socioeconomic background of the community where high school students reside. This variable measures what portion of the population is in poverty in a community.
This section of the Prospectus provides an overview of the procedures that will be used to analyze the data. For each of the stated hypotheses (quantitative),it describes the types of statistical analyses (descriptive statistics and inferential statistics)to be used to do data analysis. For each research question (qualitative),it identifies the type of data analysis to be used to answer the research question. Data analysis for qualitative studies often uses descriptive statistics to summarize data. Additionally, it uses qualitative data analysis techniques that are often specific to the research design. Many qualitative studies use coding and thematic analysis as a part of their data analysis.Others use case study summaries, comparative case analysis, model creation, network analysis (Bernard and Ryan, 2010). Identify the specific data analysis approaches to be usedin Table 1 for each hypothesis (quantitative) or in Table 2 for each qualitative research question (Appendix B).
Throughout the study, researchers will carefully consider all the ethical concerns that may arise. A preliminary e-mail was sent to all the prospective participants to explain the nature of the research. All respondents were ensured that their identity will be kept strictly confidential and will not be compromised.
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The 10 Strategic Points for the Prospectus, Proposal, and Dissertation
In the Prospectus, Proposal and Dissertation there are 10 key or strategic points that need to be clear, simple, correct, and aligned to ensure the research is doable, valuable, and credible. These points, which provide a guide or vision for the research, are present in almost any research. They are defined within this 10 Strategic Points document.
The 10 Strategic Points _( Prior )
The 10 strategy points emerge from researching literature on a topic thatis based on, or aligned with, the defined need in the literature as well as the learner’s personal passion, future career purpose, and degree area. The 10 Strategic Points document includes the following 10 key or strategic points that define the research focus and approach:
The Process for Defining the Ten Strategic Points
The order of the 10 strategic points listed above reflects the order in which the work is done by the learner. The first five strategic points focus primarily on defining the focus for the research based on a clearly defined need or gap from the literature as well as the learner’s passion, purpose and specialty area focus. First, a learner identifies a broad topic area to research for their dissertation based on a clearly defined need or gap from the literature—that they are interested in because it is based on their personal passion, future career purpose, and degree being pursued. Second, the learner completes a review of the literature to define the need or gap they will address, the theories and models that will provide a foundation for their research, related topics that are needed to demonstrate their expertise in their field, and define the key strategic points behind their proposed research. Third, the learner develops a clear, simple, one- sentence problem statement that defines the problem, or gap, that will be addressed by the research. Fourth, the learner identifies some potential population samples they would have access to in order to collect the data for the study, considering the fact the quantitative study sample sizes need to be much larger than those for qualitative studies. Fifth, the learner develops a set of research questions that will define the data needed to address the problem statement.
Based on the above five strategic points the learner now defines the key aspects of the research methodology through the last five strategic points. Sixth, the learner either describes the phenomena to be studied (if it is a qualitative study), or develops a set of hypotheses (matching the research questions) that defines the variables that will be the focus for the research (if it is a quantitative study). Seventh, the learner determines if the study will be qualitative, quantitative or mixed research based on (a) the best approach for the research, (b) the size of the sample they can get permission to access, (c) availability of data collection tools and sources, and (d) time and resources to conduct the study. Additionally, they select the best design approach considering these same factors. Eighth, the learner develops a purpose statement by integrating the problem statement, methodology, design, sample and location. Ninth, the learner identifies the data they will need to collect to address the research questions or hypotheses and how they will collect the data (e.g., interviews, focus groups, observations, tested and validated instruments or surveys, data bases, public media, etc.) Tenth, they identify the appropriate data analysis, based on their design, to be used to answer their research questions and address their problem statement.
Criteria for Evaluating the Ten Strategic Points: Clear, Simple, Correct and Aligned
When developing research, it is important to define the 10 strategic points so they are simple,clear and correct in order to ensure anyone who reviews them will easily understand them.It is important to align all of the 10 strategic points to ensure it will be possible to conduct and complete the research. The problem statement must come out of the literature. The research questions must collect the data needed to answer the problem statement. The methodology and design must be appropriate for the problem statement and research questions. The data collection and data analysis must provide the information to answer the research questions (qualitative) or test the hypotheses (quantitative). Developing the 10 Strategic Points as a two to three-page document can help ensure clarity, simplicity, correctness, and alignment of each of these ten key or strategic points in the prospectus, proposal, and dissertation. Developing these 10 strategic points on a two to three page document also provides an easy-to-use use template to ensure the 10 strategic points are always worded the same throughout the prospectus, proposal, and dissertation.
Variables/Groups, Phenomena, and Data Analysis