Disengagement, Intervention, and Drop-Out: Exploring the Lived Experiences of Students, A Phenomenological Study

Disengagement, Intervention, and Drop-Out: Exploring the Lived Experiences of Students, A Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Jeffrey A. Fink
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
Throughout the process of schooling from elementary through the end of high school; several points exist when students disengage from the process leading to dropout. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to identify the reasons for disengagement and dropout through the perceptions of the lived experiences of students. The qualitative study explored the lived experiences of 13 students who received intervention, disengaged, dropped out, and returned to obtain a diploma through alternative means. All involved students went on to higher or continuing education. Three themes (with sub-themes) and one over-arching theme emerged from the interview process that presented as reasons for disengagement and dropout. The three themes that emerged are connection to school, challenging or traumatic life event, and intervention timing, type, and benefit. The identified overarching theme that emerged is gender. The study analyzed the data via the modified van Kaam method. The study revealed common themes that educators can use to re-tool intervention in an effort to retain at-risk students.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this work to all those who supported me through this process. To my wife Jillian, you are my constant source of inspiration and I would never have made it through this without your support. To my daughter Eila, you were born during this process and you have become the reason that I always strive, and will continue to strive to be better. To dad, you may be gone; however, you are in my thoughts each and every day. I truly hope that you wherever you are, you are watching. To all of my friends, family, and colleagues, thank you for always being there when I needed you!
Acknowledgements: 
Several people deserve acknowledgement for their help and support through this process. First off, I would like to thank my family and friends for listening to me during all of those stressful hours and sleepless nights. Dr. Betty Barr, my dissertation chair, I thank you for your support and feedback during this process. I could not have done this without you! To my committee members, Dr. Sonya Miller and Dr. Robin Chambers, your guidance and feedback made this journey possible, I thank you. I would like to thank Ardell Broadbent for the outstanding editing of this dissertation. To my closest friend Frank Eastham, you have been my mentor and friend for as long as I can remember now. Thank you for all of your endless support over the years. Finally, to Lee Johnson, we began this process together and we said we would work until the end. Thank you for the support and hours of conversation as we worked through this process; we made it!