Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, Ed

Committee Member

Benton, Gary

Committee Member

Thomas, George

Committee Member

Mathews, Jerry

Committee Member

Boggan, Matthew

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Workforce Development


The purpose of this study was to determine if specific characteristics of male students in a low socio-economic urban setting predispose them to successful high school completion. Rather than focusing on dropouts, this research focused on male students who are successful high school completers. They were compared to one another in order to find correlations among variables which made them successful in completing high school. While research exists detailing the reasons students choose to drop out of school, the factors that lead to successful graduation from high school have yet to be determined. This research addresses that gap. This study addresses two research questions: (a) are there common factors among male students from a low socio-economic urban setting which predispose them to successful high school completion and (b) what are the common factors among male students from a low socio-economic urban setting which predispose them to successful high school completion? The information found in the review of related literature and research indicated that the variables (preschool education participation, sports/extracurricular activity participation, family configuration, participation in faith-based organizations, parents’ educational attainment, sibling educational attainment, attendance, parental employment, participation in vocational studies, and participation in tutoring programs for high stakes exit exams) were appropriate for this study. An instrument was piloted to obtain information on the variables. Forty male students were randomly selected from 240 male students who graduated from Meridian High School during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years. After collecting and analyzing the data using binomial distribution and chi-square analysis, the researcher drew several conclusions. Preschool participation, sibling educational attainment, attendance, family configuration, participation in a faith-based organization, parent educational attainment, parent employment, vocational program participation, and extracurricular activity/sport participation were reported by participants at statistically significant frequencies which could not be attributed to chance. The chi-square values indicate nine of the fiftyour possible variable pairs have statistically significant correlations. Conclusions and recommendations based on the findings of this study indicate that certain characteristics of students do contribute to high school completion. This study should be replicated with a larger sample in other locations to validate the findings.