Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Neil Drew


In this technological era a complete secondary education is more important than ever. Therefore, this review examines the issues surrounding students' at risk of dropping out of school. School factors such as the relevance of the curriculum, support. and also methods of assessment have each been associated with the dropout issue. These factors may also impact on students' sense of belonging, self-concept and self-esteem in negative or positive ways. Sense of belonging is a fundamental need. In schools it has been found to relate directly to achievement, indicating that mainly higher achieving students benefit from having this need fulfilled. Sense of belonging also seems to be related to self-esteem, since both are contingent on approval or support from others. Therefore students who do not get their belonging needs met may also have lower self-esteem. Ultimately these processes may influence students’ decision to stay at school. In the past there has been no empirical evidence of this, therefore further investigation of these important issue is recommended. Ways to enhance students’ educational and psychological outcomes arc within caring school communities, using procedural rather than outcome focused assessment methods and the introduction of a broad and relevant curriculum. In Western Australia the Curriculum Council is aware of students’ changing needs, and is initiating changes that will enhance their goals for the future and also their psychosocial well being.