First Advisor

Loyde W. Hales

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




Prediction of Dropout behavior, Student records, Kindergarten



Physical Description

4, x, 229 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The purpose of this study was to determine if data routinely collected during the kindergarten year and at entry into first grade could be used to predict whether a child would be perceived as successful or not successful by the end of first grade. The need for immediate continued research on this topic was established through the review of literature, which highlighted the extent of the at-risk problem both locally and nationally. The growing number of at-risk students combined with the minimal impact of the educational programs mandates the need to identify these students in time to prevent school failure. However, clear identification procedures are not currently available and previous studies have raised substantial questions regarding the accuracy of early identification procedures. The presenting problem of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a set of predictor variables, and then to analyze these findings as to whether or not they were accurate enough for use as an initial identification process for subsequent classes. The primary research approach of this study was a longitudinal data collection and correlational analysis, with discriminant analysis techniques used to determine predictive accuracy. The study was limited to data on the class of 2001 from two elementary schools within the Washougal School District. The data collected and the subsequent analysis were used to answer six exploratory research questions. No hypothesis was proposed. This study used ratings and scores obtained from the administration of the Preschool Screening system, kindergarten teacher ratings, the School Success Rating Scale, and the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Readiness Tests as predictor variables. Criterion measures of school success/failure were: placement into special programs or grade retention, and end-of-first-grade evaluations of individual student success (report cards, teacher ratings, Gates-MacGinitie Reading Achievement, and the School Success Ratings Scale). The demographic variables of gender, age, parent marital status, and eligibility for free or reduced lunch were analyzed for their potential to exceed or enhance the accuracy of the predictor variables. Three types of measurement were defined and required in order for a predictor or predictor combination to be considered adequate for use in an identification process. These were overall accuracy, criterion sensitivity and specificity accuracy, and prediction sensitivity and specificity accuracy. An 80 percent accuracy level was desired on all three types of measurement. Findings of this study indicated that no single or combination of predictor, and/or demographic variables produced all three desired levels of accuracy. Various combinations of the predictor and demographic variables produced overall accuracy rates exceeding 80 percent for each of the criterion variables. Criterion measured sensitivity and specificity were found to be adequate for use in the prediction of at-risk students. Prediction measured specificity was also found to be highly accurate. Prediction sensitivity, however, was below the desired 80 percent level, indicating that the predictor variables over identify at-risk students. It was concluded that the predictor variables could be used in an identification process if mild over-identification of at-risk students was acceptable to the district. Any use of these identification procedures is assumed to be in connection with ethical intervention practices. Recommendations from this study included cross validation of the results and continuation of the study regarding the predictive accuracy of the identified variables as the students move through higher grade levels. The study also encouraged the Washougal School District to develop a formal collection and processing procedure for their routinely collected data.


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