Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James B. Schiro


All 7 high schools located in a school district in Alabama have experienced a high dropout rate since 2012. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to understand the perceptions of recent high school dropouts about support systems that could have assisted them in completing the requirements to receive a high school diploma. Research questions centered on recent high school dropouts' views on what supports from home and from teachers they could have received to assist them in completing high school and what things they could have done differently to receive their high school diplomas. Bandura's theories of self-efficacy and social learning served as the conceptual framework for this study. Interview data were collected from 10 participants who were selected via purposive sampling from high schools in the Baldwin County school district's local GED program. Data were analyzed using Hatch's 9 step typology for open coding. All of the participants said that they had dropped out or quit school for a variety of reasons, including a change in program, family responsibilities, loss of interest, or to get a job. They reported feeling that their parents could have done more to keep them from dropping out. Only half of the participants said they had received support from teachers. Most participants reported feeling that they themselves could have done something more to complete high school. The results of this study could lead to positive social change as parents and teachers become more aware of how to support students at risk of dropping out and the impact this can have on their communities.