Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences

First Advisor

Cynthia Hazel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Duan Zhang

Third Advisor

Karin Dittrick-Nathan

Fourth Advisor

Eugene Walls


Student School Engagement Measure (SSEM), Retention rates in US, Dropout epidemic in the United States


There is a dropout epidemic in the United States. In the US, 25% of high school students do not graduate on time. For Latinos, the number is worse, with only 64% graduating from high school. Current research is clear that 9th grade is a critical year for keeping students in school. Students that earn all their credits for their core classes in 9th grade are more likely to graduate than students who fail one or more class during their freshman year. Prior to this study, engagement has been connected to dropout in the literature, but with differing ideas of how to measure engagement. The Student School Engagement Measure (SSEM) could be one tool used to estimate levels of engagement and identify students at risk of dropping out. This study used structural equation modeling to identify whether 8th grade SSEM scores were a significant predictor of credits earned by the end of 9th grade. The results of this study indicated that 8th grade SSEM scores were not a significant predictor of credits earned at the end of 9th grade, supporting previous research has found that engagement changes from year to year. These findings suggest that measuring engagement over the course of a single year, instead of using the SSEM as a long term predictor, might be a more useful use of the SSEM.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jennifer Albanes


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

93 p.