Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Adams, James

Committee Member

Hare, Dwight, R.

Committee Member

Thompos, Nicole

Committee Member

Abraham, Patti

Committee Member

Brandenburg, Teri

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Instructional Systems and Workforce Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


The purpose of this study was to conduct an ecological examination of the relationship between social integration and dropout rates at the school and community level, and the role of career and technical education in this relationship. This paper also attempts to determine if this relationship changes depending on how urbanicity is operationalized. This study adds to the existing research concerning the ecological relationships between dropout rates, community social integration, school social integration, and urbanicity in Mississippi. Three-year averaged event dropout rates for 2005-2008, multiple community and school measures of social integration, and three different operationalizations of urbanicity were used. Some expected relationships were found to be true while others indicate that social integration at both the school and community level are so intertwined in their effects on dropout rates that no clear pattern emerges. The varying results related to the role of urbanicity in this study provide support for the need to further examine the concepts of community and location as factors that impact educational outcomes such as dropping out of school. This is particularly important when one considers that most educational policies that are implemented in a state tend to be overarching treating school districts no matter what size they are the same. This study also highlights that there are factors that impact what one would traditionally expect to find in the relationship between dropout rates and social integration that do not hold true. For example, an inverse relationship between dropout rates and local funding was expected, but in this study the relationship was found to be positive. One possible explanation for this is related to the fact that local taxes for schools are mandated by the county government and not voted on by the people. This changes the theoretical expectations of this relationship leading to possibly false assumptions.