This study investigated the influence of the teacher and family relationships during secondary school for 18 to 22 year old students who had dropped out of secondary school and were attempting to gain access to tertiary study through a tertiary bridging program at a regional university. 144 students from two student cohorts completed a questionnaire intended to facilitate an understanding of how social context influenced secondary school attrition. It was identified that students who had not completed secondary school reported significantly lower levels of emotional engagement with school and poorer relationships with teachers. The study concluded that the residential situation and the quality of student-teacher relationships influenced the quality of the academic outcomes achieved in secondary school, with the student-teacher relationship being the dominant factor. It was also concluded that, while secondary school completion was significantly lower for students who did not reside with both parents, the family situation was not predictive of school completion. Rather, it is hypothesised that the wider contextual problems associated with family dysfunction which manifest in a poor school experience were the cause of the failure to complete secondary school. The implications for secondary school and tertiary bridging educators are discussed.
& Allen, W.
High school dropouts returning to study: The influence of the teacher and family during secondary school.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(9).