Ample amount of research has been conducted on the national issue of late graduation rates in middle and high schools spanning several years. According to the research conducted, it is projected that the 2016 class cost the nation $450 billion in taxes, lost wages and efficiency over the lifespans due to late graduation (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2009).
The common citizens of the nation suffer not just due to revenue loss but as a consequence of the level of education amongst the population as well. This research seeks out to find out if variables exist that adds up to the factors which affect the graduation of high and middle schools on time in inner cities if Los Angeles. The study will utilize a research design containing qualitative methodology. The data will be gathered on the cohort of the student; interviews will be conducted with educators, families, and students. Thompson’s (2008) four components for the success of the student say that for the success of the students the contribution of student, school, community, and family is significant.
By carefully looking at every element and achievement theory of Bandura (1993), the conclusions will be made founded on the collected data from the family, student, and educator participants in inner cities of Los Angeles. The recommendations will be offered for further research and endeavors to help in discovering the answer to the late graduation of high school students which plagues the inner cities of Los Angeles. Previous studies show that the socio-economic status and social, emotional instability has a negative impact and frequently results in the late graduation of high school students. Educators at the district and school level must try to involve parents in the process of education.
Background of the Study
As the focus of the nation rolls towards soaring education standards and creating quantifiable objectives for the improvement of middle and high school student accomplishment on individual basis through No Child Left Behind Act which has been much debated over the years, it is significant to take into account that for the 2015-2016 class, only 75 per cent of the inner cities’ high school students graduated (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
The problem of lower rate of graduation at the state level also has a deep impact on the inner cities students of Los Angeles. The previous literature demonstrates that graduation rate of high school students is considerably low when compared to rural and national rates. In the state of California, the graduation rate of high school students in inner cities of Los Angeles was 67% in 2014 and 77 percent in 2010.
There is wide-ranging literature from past few decades of research based on education that highlights the success of the students regarding dropping out of school and graduation. Though, a very small amount of research focusing success of students for Los Angeles inner cities students exists. Even lesser amount of research exists that provides solutions to the late graduation of high school students. The proposed solutions in the previous literature reviews for the issues of Los Angeles inner cities schools persist to be common, and also believed to be suitable for countryside settings too. Due to the shortage of research existing on this high school student population, this research will aim at the significance of the place that is inner cities of Los Angeles. Though the classification of predictor variables will offer important information in itself, this research will further investigate, by utilizing accessed information from the interviews with students and teachers, in hopes of finding the problem source. This research will assist inner cities families, students, and educators to present insight into the dilemma of late graduation rates.
The general target of the study was to explore factors influencing the late graduation of inner cities students of Los Angeles. The students specifically in inner cities of Los Angeles are not able to complete their high school graduation on time; the study seeks to find the reasons behind the late graduation amongst high school students in Los Angeles. The study will help the schools, students, and families in facilitating with the predictors of the late graduation.
Purpose of the Study
The research seeks to study a current group of high and middle school students, investigating the variables for late graduation amongst the students of inner-cities of Los Angeles, and using a more inclusive theoretical framework based on four elements. Additionally, this researchdemonstrates the most suitable definition of late graduation amongst high school students. By utilizing a framework that is based on four elements related to late graduation, this research investigates the variables that can be huge factors of late graduation. Moreover, this research will examinethe connectionamong socio-economic condition and patterns of late graduation.
Since students in rural areas are graduating on time as compared to the inner-cities students, an opportunity arises to undertake a research study that is much required on inner-cities students of Los Angeles. Late graduation from high schools is an issue at the national and state level that chiefly influences students in Los Angeles. The review of several pieces of literature shows that the rates of late graduation amongst inner-cities students of Los Angeles are lower than other states. This study will focus on the reasons that affect the late graduation such as, socioeconomic status, family involvement, and school participation.
1. Why some students do not graduate on time? What is the role of socioeconomic status, school status, and family?
2. How do student failure impact student and the family?
3. What is the impression of school teachers about the accomplishment of students in rural Los Angeles?
4. What are the perspectives of instructors on the advancement of students in rural Los Angeles?
The late graduation rate has been acknowledged as a silent issue and lately has been declared as a national crisis. The students who graduate late not only risk their futures but have a negative influence on the nation and communitiesas well because of the loss of dynamic workers; loss of billions of dollars in tax revenue; and the high costs linked with healthcare, social services, increased incarceration, and programs related to crime-prevention(Roderick, Kelley-Kemple, Johnson & Beechum, 2014).
Late graduation does not happen suddenly; it is a slow procedure of disengagement. Late graduation rate amongst high school students is not due to a single reason; there are different factors involved in this process. Though, the high school students are the individuals who can address the crisis of late graduation. They are the experts on what it is like to be a student.
The society must believe in its control for the availability of services which include financial and social services as it can help families and schools by functioning together to bring constructive change. The middle and high schools should recognize the power and significance they have in transforming the society as it stands at present and the future. When the self-efficacy level of a person is high, the expectation level is even higher, and there is extra focus on the accomplishment of the goals (Bandura, 1993). As a result of this unified focus, the overall well-being and reality of the community must be taken into account by the stakeholders. Once stakeholders aren’t certain about their capability to transform they are expected to work in segregation and blamed others when they fail to achieve goals, eventually as a resulting probability of on-time graduation is decreased.
Figure 1: Four elements of student success
This study will aim at one inner-city Los Angeles school district. Educationalists must examine the society where the students live as significant in affecting the socio-economic and cultural dynamics that could also have an impact on the success of students and schools. These sectors propose a different challenge for the officials of inner cities high schools when they try to encourage on-time graduation in schools. The students who are representing lower socioeconomic families’ results in fundamental desires not being achieved within the society, therefore they should be focused on the high school in combination with teaching the basic material and studies program compulsory by the educational system of the state. Inner cities high schools in Los Angeles are not merely learning institutions but works as a source of light and knowledge for the communities in where the middle and high school students live. Most of the times, it is observed in inner cities high school students who live their lives in severe poverty have only one meal for the day.
What are the pathways and obstacles to the on-time graduation of high school students in inner cities of Los Angeles? It could be debated that the factors that affect high school students from inner cities of Los Angeles graduating on-time reflect the students in other states; nonetheless in several ways, those factors are exceptional to different areas. Despite the fact where the student is located, the student success model based on four elements (Thompson, 2008) demonstrates that the success of the student is based on the participation from school, family, society, and efforts of an individual student. Graduating from high schools on-time in the inner cities of Los Angeles probably happens when every element works together. Students deprived of any one of the four elements are anticipated to have problems in the quest of getting their diploma from high school on time. This focus of this research will be heavily based on the four elements regarding the success of the students (Figure 1) and shows that when all four elements work together and not individually, the probability of a high school student graduating on-time increases.
Conversely, the deficiency or lack in one of the four elements boost the probability that the student will not graduate on time. In the initial part of the research, reasons are going to be investigated to establish the level of influence different variables have on late graduation amongst a cohort of K-12 inner cities Los Angeles students.
The first component includes the family importance. For this research purpose family is described as different individuals residing under one rooftop related by marriage, blood, social dependability or law. The families of the students work as the fundamental component for social standing, values, lifestyles, self-esteem, and cultures. Additionally, families are the principal caregivers and also financial support is provided by the family. Ample amount of literature can be found concerning the responsibility of the family of the student (Anderson & Limoncelli, 1982; Howard & Anderson, 1978; Mahan & Johnson, 1983).
This study underlines a direct connection amid student success and involvement of the family. The relation with the family exists despite the educational level of the parents, ethnicity, and race. The family of such students can inspire the significance of graduating on-time, offer fundamental emotional support and help high school students in considering the hopes of teachers and schools while emphasizing those at home. Phelan (1992) suggested that background of the family, personal issues, and problems linked with the school are amongst the several factors which relate to the late graduation of high school students in inner cities of Los Angeles. This study investigated the family involvement variable and its effects on educational results of the cohort student group. Some examples of question that this study will reveal for the cohort involves: What impact does the educational result of the student has to the father? What effect do the family member(s), grandparents, and mother have on the academic results?
The second component includes the significance of the society. During this study, the society will be described as a gathering of individuals sharing an area or environment with common values, ethnicity, beliefs, social and education class. Instances of such communities involve work atmospheres, co-curricular organizations, gangs’ environments, school, church, and learning communities. Several scholars think that the superiority of the housing areas where the students are residing is linked to achievement at school; therefore, the society is supposed as a complete place which can influence its resident’s lives (Clampet Lundquist, 1998; Devine, 1996; Garner & Raudenbush, 1991). This thought is mainly applicable for high school students the mobility of whom inside their society is inadequate; a huge quantity of energy and time is exerted inside the environment of the community (Ensminger, Lamkin, & Jacobson, 1996; Furstenburg & Hughes, 1994). In contrast, the study will argue that the impacts of the community add up to the social class and background of the family (Mayer & Jencks, 1989; Solon, Page, & Duncan, 2000). Considering the context of the research undertaken, the impacts of social dynamics and family influence the whole society, therefore the residents of the society are going to perform at same levels (Fields & Smith, 1998).
Involvement of School
The third component is centered on the support of the school. Schools are well-known for their part in teaching high school students, yet every day they get more than just education. Numerous students don’t have a sound home environment. Schools are frequently in charge of family and group esteems, and numerous students supplant them with values that prompt student achievement (Roderick, Kelley-Kemple, Johnson & Beechum, 2014).
Involvement of Student
The fourth component alludes to the involvement of students. Numerous students did not succeed and considered a long and troublesome approach to complete school. For students who can prevail, ought to effectively take part in the learning procedure, utilize accessible assets and take an interest in the social association, participation and self-reflection (Renaud et al., 2015).
• Thornberg (2014) argue effectiveness in classroom-based cross-cultural communication needs an understanding of non-verbal communication. Indeed, interpersonal communication is always influenced by non-verbal cues; and the cues are important components of the participants’ messages. Even though there are universal non-verbal messages, the interpretation of factors such as touch, appearance, space, time, and body language is mediated by the individual’s culture (Finlayson, 2010). For instance, Mexican and Puerto Rican children tend to avoid eye contacts with the adults in case they are reprimanded (Meral & Turnbull, 2014; Saleh, 2012). In an American classroom situation, this would signal disrespect on the part of the students. Therefore, a miscommunication happens as a result. Similarly, several cultures, which are natively Middle Eastern, Native American, and Asian consider it as being rude and disrespectful when a listener makes an eye contact. This is attributed to the studies by Ralph V. Exline (1922-1993), Robert Rosenthal, and Clara Mayo (Jacob & Kuruvilla, 2012; Kapadia, 2013). Failure to look someone in the eye does not necessarily mean that the child is not paying attention. Cultural misapprehensions by the teachers as well as the fellow students contribute by increasing the knowledge gap since entire groups of learners are pushed to the fringes. This is in line with the research work by psychologists and researchers like Janet Dean Fodor (born in 1942) and Michael Argyle (1925-2002) (Isik-Ercan, 2010; Krueger et al., 2015).
• The culture of the correct answer, as opposed to that of explanation, is another major issue, and this is according to Thornberg (2014) and Meral & Turnbull (2014). It ought to be appreciated that in many of the minority cultures, individuals are taught to conduct a situational analysis and make their inferences in the most appropriate manner possible. With the current education system, most schools emphasize on memorizing. The goal of addressing this point is to establish how constructivist classrooms can be created or formulated, and this is where the students and their teachers perceive knowledge as being dynamic as opposed to being static and restricted to unexplained and possibly ambiguous answers (Kapadia, 2013). The approach taken by the proposed primary study is that instead of insisting that the students memorize unclear facts, it would be advantageous to help them come up with the ways and means of solving scenarios in an objective cycle of inductive and deductive reasoning. (Saleh, 2012).
• Bosworth, Ford, & Hernandaz (2011) indicate that the issue of the critical mass has a significant effect. Being fewer in number means that several students from the minority groups rarely master the courage to make contributions like everyone else. An appropriate reference about the issue of the critical mass is the evaluation of the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a Supreme Court battle between the White students who had been denied admission to race. The Supreme Court has since argued that the critical mass argument by the university is constitutional since it has met the three most important controlling principles. Even without going into the details of the arguments and the decision by the Supreme Court, it is evident that the university was justified in arguing that most students are derailed in their studies whenever they fail to be in the company of a sufficient number of individuals (students and teachers alike) who are from their backgrounds. Background, in this case, refers to religion, ethnicity, and even race (Meral & Turnbull, 2014; Thornberg, 2014; Worrell, 2014).
• Jamal et al. (2013) assert that perceived discrimination, together with the ‘non-representative’ common-core education system are also part of the issues, which need to be addressed if the levels of education amongst the minorities are to improve. Discrimination and common-core are hoped to place everyone at the same level, which is not the case in reality. In extreme cases, perceived discrimination tend to trigger depression. Becker (1971) presents a theory he refers to as “taste for discrimination”; and even if he was addressing work-related settings, the same applies to education. About the “taste for discrimination,” the primary study will be addressing four types of discrimination. These include the subtle, automatic discrimination, or unconscious discrimination; statistical discrimination, which is also known as profiling; discrimination by biased institutional-based processes; and intentional, explicit discrimination (Becker, 1971).
1. Why some students do not graduate on time? What are the role of socioeconomic status, school status, and family?
2. How do student failure impact student and the family?
3. What is the impression of school teachers about the accomplishment of students in rural Los Angeles?
4. What are the perspectives of instructors on the advancement of students in rural Los Angeles?
Significance of the project
This research is essential since it tends to comprehend the factors involving the late graduate amongst the inner cities high school students of Los Angeles. It is particularly intended to create research suggestions to design predictors regarding the late graduation rate amongst the inner cities high school students, a standout amongst the most proficient regions in the state.
Rationale for Methodology
The study is qualitative since the understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship between cultures, and academic knowledge-gaps is best accomplished through the analysis of lived experiences. Qualitative research is flexible, and this is important since every respondent has a story to tell. In that case, phenomenology is the most appropriate approach, especially its flexibility, comes in handy since the issue in question is difficult to address via structured methodologies. The inquiry is directed towards complex topics in contextual situations, and this means that the sensitive personal issues need not be considered as part of a generalized phenomenon. Individuals are regarded as stand-alone entities, which are not easily replaceable. Establishing the meanings which individual respondents ascribe to specific situations and experiences is to be anchored upon data gathered using in-depth interviews and detailed field notes describing the context. It follows that phenomenology is the best approach in this case. Phenomenology facilitates the addressing of lived experiences, which is the case with the proposed primary study.
Nature of the Research Design
The research will utilize the qualitative analysis to get the results. The research involved gathering statistic information through interviews with students and instructors. It has been observed that four components namely family, group, school, and students should cooperate with each other to accelerate student achievement. Based on the information provided by the students and teachers through interview question, the effect of social, economic, and family factors will be observed.
Organization of the Study
The thesis will consist of five chapters. Chapter one (introduction) will provide the backdrop of the issue adjoining the timely graduation of inner cities high school students of Los Angeles, demonstrating the hypothetical framework for the research and also key terms utilized in the research will be defined.
The literature on the background of the problem will be presented in chapter two (literature review), an insight into the educational accomplishment in the state, country, region, and the inner cities of Los Angeles pointed out in the research undertaken.
Chapter three of the study (research methodology) introduces the clinical/research questions defining the respondents, procedures, the design of the research, and course of action. The results of the research will be included in chapter four. Lastly, chapter five is going to discuss likely understanding of the findings, propositions for the inner cities of Los Angeles County and propose further research in this area.
The research utilized a blended strategy for the purpose of the research. The research involved gathering information through interviews with students and instructors. It has been observed that four components namely family, group, school, and students should cooperate with each other to accelerate student achievement. Because of information assembled by the students, the researcher will make conclusions and propose suggestions for future activities and research in this area.
Instrumentation or Sources of Data
The study will utilize interviews conducted with the high school students and educators. Such materials will be available during fieldwork, and they will facilitate the understanding of the performance gaps between students from multiple backgrounds. The investigator preferred to use one-on-one interviews to discover responses to the research questions by utilizing extra questions as prompts. These prompt questionswill serve as a system to further investigate into the responses provided by the students and educators included in the study as participants. The research questions are mentioned above, and the interview questionswill be created to look into the potential factors affecting high school graduation on time.
With the aim of selecting participants for the study, the researcher will begin by meeting with the principal and teachers of the school and will discussthe research, and then followed by visiting the school during the nonclass time like break time to talk to high school students regarding their academics and personal life. After giving the visit to the school and talking regarding the research, the researcher will ask for volunteers for the research, note their names, and distribute approval forms to the students who willshow interest in volunteering for the research. The reason of giving consent form to the students is to give them a brief explanation of the research and its rationale. The participants of the research will be voluntary and that any participantcan pull out from the research at any given time.
The participants of the study will be interviewed one-on-one so they can without any hesitance reflectregarding their individual experience throughout their middle and high school. Also, interview questions will be used to take an in-depth look at the role of the schools thatwill elaborate reasons of late graduation. The researcher will strive to utilize the research questions to establish why the students graduate late and whether the school could have prevented them from quitting school.
Data Collection Procedures
This research will utilize face-to-face semi-structured interviews to gather insights and information required for the qualitative analysis. The interviews practice will be utilized to gather knowledge regarding individual experiences, beliefs, thoughts, and prospects of a group of middle and high school. The semi-structured face-to-face interview will strive to answer the research questions, but supplementary interview questions will be utilized to get a deeper perceptive of the participants of the research. These protocols of the interview will be created with keeping the vulnerabilities of the participants in consideration. Several steps will be taken to guarantee privacy throughout the research. When the data are reported, the names of the participants will not be revealed; just assumed names that will be given by the investigator of the study, and every collected data and documentwill be kept away and secured from the site of the interview.
Data Analysis Procedures
Since this is a qualitative research methodology; the data analysis techniques include coding and thematic analysis, social network analysis, comparative case analysis, as well as case summaries. With thematic coding, the researcher will be identifying the texts, which happen to be linked by common themes. These are also the ideas, which enable one to index the texts into clear categories. By so doing, frameworks of thematic ideas are established (John & Stage, 2014). Lack of holistic orientation will be addressed using this procedure. Social network analysis will be utilized in the analysis of the connections, which exist between institutions, groups, and individuals (i.e., people) (Dallavis, 2011; Terry et al., 2010). This procedure will be utilized in determining the derailments caused by the perceived discrimination of students. It is important in determining interrelationships.
Studies involving human subjects are supposed to be completed under the federal and institutional ethical guidelines. This is ascertained by the Institutional Review Board (or IRB). Even though this study may be exempted from the review by the IRB on the basis of the fact that it is within the acceptable educational settings and normal educational practices are in place, it still falls under the domain that needs the Internal Research Review Board (i.e., IRRB) consent (Isik-Ercan, 2010; Thornberg, 2014; Worrell, 2014). The researcher will ensure that only anonymous and no-risk surveys and observations will be done. In case any identifying information is needed, this will be confidential and will not be included in the final report (Bosworth et al., 2011).
The researcher will ensure that they follow the ethical standards established by the American Psychological Association. They are six in total, and they include competence, integrity, scientific and professional responsibility, respect for the dignity and the rights of the participants, concern for their welfare, as well as having a social responsibility. Concerning competence, the researcher will attempt only the work that they are competent to undertake. On integrity, they will be honest and fair regarding their professional cooperation with others. There will be scientific and professional responsibility, and this is where high-standards of professional behavior will be maintained. Respecting the dignity and rights of others involve the right to confidentiality. The concern for others will involve coming up with the work that facilitates the bridging of the gaps in research, and this is closely related to social responsibility where the researcher will meet this code by using their skills to the benefit of the society (Meral & Turnbull, 2014).
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