, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 551-570
Date: 30 Jun 2012

Dropout Prevention and the Model-Minority Stereotype: Reflections from an Asian American High School Dropout

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Abstract

A recent review of the research by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences has resulted in the recommendation of six promising practices to ensure that all students are actively engaged in school and on a path to post-secondary success (Dynarski et al. in Dropout prevention: A practice guide (NCEE 2008–4025)). The purpose of this study was to explore the experience and perspective of an Asian American high school dropout and the extent to which his story aligns with dominant thinking, including the six recommended dropout prevention practices and the model minority myth (MMM) of Achievement Orientation, a common belief that Asian Americans exhibit greater success than any other minority ethnic group. The adolescent dropout was interviewed on eight occasions. Findings revealed that the MMM may have contributed to the lack of intervention provided to this student and that the most worthwhile recommendations from his perspective include: assigning adult advocates to at-risk students, the use of a systematic data-tracking system to target and individualize interventions, and the ability of the school to provide academic support and a personalized learning environment.