Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Linda Crawford

Abstract

The dropout rate for first-generation Mexican Americans students in American schools has increased in the past decade. The purpose of this study, as reflected in the central research question, was to explore the factors that influenced the decision of first-generation Mexican American students to transition to high school or drop out after Grade 8. The research design was a phenomenological case study. The conceptual framework was based on current research surrounding first-generation Mexican American student dropout questions. In addition, how the concepts of family and community involvement and relationships between the home and school have an impact on the first generation Mexican American dropout rate. Participants were 10 first-generation Mexican Americans between the ages of 18-24, who either dropped out of school at the end of Grade 8 or completed high school. Data was collected from multiple interviews with participants. Data analysis involved coding, categorization, and analysis of themes and discrepant data. Factors that influenced students' decisions to stay in school or drop out included lack of support at home, lack of support at school, and financial needs. This study contributes to positive social change because educators may develop a deeper understanding about how to prevent first-generation Mexican American students from dropping out of school. In helping these students to graduate from high school, educators will assist these students in developing educational and employment goals that will confidently lead them to lives that are more productive.