Dropout Determinants in Non-Native English Speakers in Northern Virginia High School between 2010-2020, is Language Important?


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This study seeks to examine the determinants of the increasing rates of school dropout among non-native English speakers in Northern Virginia high schools between 2010 and 2020. It examines the differences in student dropout among non-native English speakers' boys and girls in Northern Virginia high schools. The research adopts a qualitative design involving the use of secondary sources. The content analysis method was used in analyzing the qualitative data in examining the research problem. Additionally, the Interactionist approach by Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner was considered the primary theoretical approach. The findings highlighted that graduation rates of English Learners (Els) have remained low over the ten years. The main concern was the limited supported offered by Virginia state to non-native English learners. Schools do not have sufficient staff or programs to ensure that ELs get the support they need to gain English proficiency and remain in school. Poor early engagement of learners, family socio-economic status, and cultural differences accounted for the disparities in the dropout rates. The research recommended an increase in state funding to ELs, better training of teachers and counselors for ELs in schools, systemizing tracking, implementation of dual language programs to assist ELs, and establishment of community-based organizations to assist the community in understanding the school system. Few publications on how language itself affects the dropout rate of non-Native English students in Virginia were identified as the main limitations of the study.