Gifted dropout: who and why - renzulli

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Gifted Child Quarterly Gifted Dropouts: The Who and the Why
Joseph S. Renzulli and Sunghee Park Gifted Child Quarterly 2000; 44; 261 DOI: 10.1177/001698620004400407 The online version of this article can be found at:

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National Association for GiftedChildren

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Gifted Dropouts: The Who and the Why
Joseph S. Renzulli The University of Connecticut

Sunghee Park

Two studies were conducted to obtain comprehensive information about ifted high school dropouts and to examine factors that are related to their dropout behavior using the Dropout and Studentquestionnaires of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). The results indicated that mwny gifted dropouts were from low socioeconomic-status families and racial minority groups; had parents with low levels of education; and participated less in extracurricular activities. Also, reasons for gifted male dropouts were More related to econornic issues, while reasons for giftedteniale dropouts were more related to personal issues, although both males and femiales were likely to offer school-related reasons. The logistic regression analysis results indicated that dropout behavior for gifted students was significantly related to students' educational aspirations. pregnancy or child-rearing, gender, father's highest level of education, and mother's highest level of education.Hispanics remained higher than those for White and Black students. Students from the lowest income families were approximately eight times more likely to be dropouts than those from the highest income families (NCES, 1997). Although the issue of high school dropouts has received much attention, only limited research has been devoted to gifted or high-ability dropouts (Robertson, 1991;Sadowski, 1987; Stephenson, 1985), and little is known about these students. In fact, a wide range of estimates exists for the percentage of gifted students who drop out of school. Robertson reported that 25% ofall students who drop out of school do so by age 16, and between 18% and 25% of gifted and talented students drop out. U.S. News & World Report reported in August, 1983 that up to 18% of all highschool dropouts are gifted students (Solorzano, 1983). The Marland report (cited

Gifted dropouts appear on a self-actualizing quest; the wanderlust is a means to an end that may not be fully understood, but is an affective and a cognitive component of identity development as they strive for their niche in the world. -Elsie Robertson (1991, p. 67)
The problem of high school dropouts hasgenerated increased interest from researchers, educators, and policy makers. The recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 1997) reported that, each year, approximately 300,000 to 500,000 students left high school without completing their programs. For example, in 1996, 3.6 million youths, who comprised 11.1% of the 32.4 million 16- through 24-year-olds in the U.S., were notenrolled in a high school program and had not completed high school. This report also indicated that dropout rates varied significantly by racial background and socioeconomic status. Although the gap between the rates for Blacks and Whites narrowed, dropout rates for
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