Are we doing something wrong? The relationship between schools’ policies and practices and student dropout
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This research investigated whether, and in what way schools are capable of reducing dropout rates through their policies and practices and students’ attitudes. To measure the dropout risk, a questionnaire including both school- and personal student factors proved to be related to dropout, was constructed. The questionnaire was completed by 252 Dutch secondary vocational education students from the application- and media development track at four schools. The students had a mean age of M = 18.62, and 93% of the students was male, while only 7% female. The results showed a significant correlation between school factors and students’ cynical attitude toward school. Two factors correlated strongest with the overall score on the questionnaire, which is interpreted as the dropout risk; the school factors rules and order. Schools should best focus on their practices regarding those factors in reducing their dropout rate. One of the four schools appeared to have a significant lower score on the dropout risk questionnaire, this difference might be attributed to their more progressive education system that appears to positively affect students’ attitude and thereby reduces their dropout risk.