Senior secondary school persistence and attrition: Testing a theoretical model using a logit analysis

Year: 1994

Author: Hemmings, Brian C.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the reasons why students decide to continue or discontinue their studies during the post-compulsory school years. This exploration involves the development, testing, and validation of a comprehensive theoretical model. This model portrays a causal sequence consisting of eleven constructs which leads to a decision to persist with or withdraw from senior secondary school studies. The constructs are drawn from similar studies of both tertiary institution and secondary school students and are labelled individual attributes, family background, school commitment 1, goal commitment 1, academic integration, social integration, needs accommodation, expectation versus reality, school commitment 2, goal commitment 2, and intention. The relationships among, and the relative importance of, these constructs that influence this decision over time are highlighted.

A sample of students from 10 New South Wales rural and metropolitan secondary schools was surveyed three times over a 13-month period to collect data on each of the constructs. A logit analysis was carried out to test and validate the developed theoretical model. The results of the logit analysis confirmed that the theoretical model was both adequate and appropriate in explaining and predicting senior secondary school persistence and attrition.