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School Dropout

  1. Beth Doll

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0825

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Doll, B. 2010. School Dropout. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Nebraska Lincoln

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


School dropout occurs when students exit from K-12 schooling without graduating from high school. The failure to earn a high school diploma has been recognized as a serious threat to students' livelihoods since 1950, when, for the first time, more students graduated from high school than did not, and jobs for unskilled laborers began to decline precipitously (Doll & Hess, 2004). Prospective high school dropouts disengage from school as early as the fourth grade with gradually increasing absences and discipline problems and decreasing academic achievement. By middle school or early high school, the students may drop out of school temporarily, return, and then drop out again. Disturbingly, this pattern of school disengagement occurs more often for students who are poor, are from cultural or linguistic minority groups, or have disabilities.


  • school dropout;
  • school completion