Mexican-American students at risk: Influences on motivation to graduate from high school

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan, Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with risk for leaving school before graduation in low socio-economic status (SES) Mexican-American males at a rural comprehensive high school with a large migrant population.Participants were 14 ninth grade students who volunteered to be interviewed. Seven students were considered low risk and seven considered high risk according to local criteria. Case studies of all 14 students were provided based on interview results, school records and teacher evaluations. Both within group and between group comparisons were discussed. Data were analyzed and tabulated using Alpha4$\sp\circler$ and WordPerfect 5.1$\sp\circler.$ Relevant portions of the interviews were provided in the text.Findings were: (1) Demographic differences existed between low risk and high risk participants. Mothers of high risk participants had lower paying, lower status jobs, and families of high risk participants were more difficult to classify in terms of how members were related to each other. One participant wasn't sure if a family member was his sister or his cousin. There seemed to be more arguments, inadequate parenting and less communication in high risk families. (2) No low risk participants thought that their parents wanted them to leave school. There was less assurance with high risk participants that their parents wanted them to graduate. (3) Low risk participants did not feel that school structure had any influence on their motivation to graduate. High risk participants believed that school authorities impeded their success. (4) Low risk participants had better attendance and passed more courses than high risk participants. (5) Students with special needs that were met in primary grades tended to be low risk. Students whose special needs were not met in primary grades tended to be high risk.


Education, Administration; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Educational Psychology

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