American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 519-544

First online:

A Longitudinal Examination of the Transition into Senior High School for Adolescents from Urban, Low-Income Status, and Predominantly Minority Backgrounds

  • Olga ReyesAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois
  • , Karen L. GillockAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois
  • , Kimberly KobusAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois
  • , Bernadette SanchezAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois

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The current 6-year study investigates the impact of the elementary (K–8)-to-high school (9–12) transition on the school completion outcomes of 107 adolescents from urban, minority, low-income status backgrounds. Descriptive findings provide a longitudinal profile of students' enrollment status throughout high school. Students who had graduated or were Active in the school system at the end of the study evidenced more marked change in perceptions of social support following the transition to the ninth grade compared to Inactive students, dropouts, who evidenced little change. With respect to academic performance, while both groups evidenced declines following the transition and failed to recover sustained losses, Inactive students declined more sharply in grades and attendance. Findings are discussed in terms of the mixed support for the transitional life events perspective. In addition, study limitations and directions for future research are discussed, including variables that should be considered in research with the targeted group.

urban adolescents school transition school dropout