Algebra I and other predictors of high school dropout

Yuria R Orihuela, Florida International University


This study investigated the relation of several predictors to high school dropout. The data, composed of records from a cohort of students ( N = 10,100) who entered ninth grade in 2001, were analyzed via logistic regression. The predictor variables were: (a) Algebra I grade, (b) Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) level, (c) language proficiency, (d) gender, (e) race/ethnicity, (f) Exceptional Student Education program membership, and (g) socio-economic status. The criterion was graduation status: graduated or dropped out. Algebra I grades were an important predictor of whether students drop out or graduate; students who failed this course were 4.1 times more likely to drop out than those who passed the course. Other significant predictors of high school dropout were language proficiency, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) level, gender, and socio-economic status. The main focus of the study was on Algebra I as a predictor, but the study was not designed to discover the specific factors related to or underlying success in this course. Nevertheless, because Algebra I may be considered an important prerequisite for other major facets of the curriculum and because of its high relationship to high school dropout, a recommendation emerging from these findings is that districts address the issue of preventing failure in this course. Adequate support mechanisms for improving retention include addressing the students' readiness for enrolling in mathematics courses as well as curriculum improvements that enhance student readiness through such processes as remediation. Assuring that mathematics instruction is monitored and improved and that remedial programs are in place to facilitate content learning in all subjects for all students, but especially for those having limited English proficiency, are critical educational responsibilities.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Orihuela, Yuria R, "Algebra I and other predictors of high school dropout" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3249717.