Student Retention in High School Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

They establish identities or are confused about what roles to play. Additionally, Cherry (2011) states that child must have a conscious sense of self that is developed through social interaction. A child's ego identity is constantly evolving as he or she acquires new experiences and information. Processing these new experiences and information embodies and shapes one's sense of self.

According to Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development (Berger, 2010), thoughts and expectations profoundly affect attitudes, beliefs, values, assumptions, and actions. In turn, these factors have a direct correlation to the sense of self that motivates competence, positive behaviors, and actions. If a void occurs in developing a sense of self relative to others, he or she will have psychological barriers that are translated into a defense mechanism to conceal one's lack of motivation, fear of failure, and social dysfunction (Berger, 2010). Lowering the affective filters are critical to foster social development and to eliminate identity confusion.

Remediation & Retention

With respect to high school dropout rates, there is a direct correlation to social and academic factors (Berger, 2010). Students who drop out of high school are disengaged with his or her environment. Based on social factors according the Berger, Esteban would benefit from a smaller school environment, extra-curricular activities, and an Ambassador (2010). Each facet will assist with social development, as aligned with the Social Learning Theory, an extension of Behaviorism Theory (Berger 2010). Without knowing Esteban's interest or reason for the lack of motivation, the educator needs to build a relationship with Esteban. Holding a discovery discussion will provide insights as to his interests, desires, and abilities; this will allow the educator to facilitate student engagement. By observing modeled behavior and given an opportunity to practice in a nonthreatening environment, Esteban will develop the self-efficacy needed to establish self-identity.

Lowering the affective filters and providing the necessary support paves the way for behavior modification (Berger, 2010). An avenue to explore is the use of an Attitude and Interest survey. Conducting this survey before the discovery discussion will be an effective method to gain additional insights into Esteban. Additionally, the educator may discover extra-curricular activities that interest Esteban, and perhaps, the educator may serve as a catalyst for the student's engagement. Finding an outlet for expression will be the beacon needed to build his self-esteem, self-concept, and self-confidence. Last, providing an Ambassador (peer buddy for social acclimation) will add a layer of support and encouragement in various activities. Such operant conditioning and social learning will segue into the desired behavior, encouraging Esteban to change. Ultimately, this may inspire Esteban to improve his engagement and to inspire his life.


Berger, S. (2010). The developing person: Through childhood and adolescence. New York: Worth Publishers

Cherry, K. (2011). Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. Retrieved from…

Sources Used in Document:


Berger, S. (2010). The developing person: Through childhood and adolescence. New York: Worth Publishers

Cherry, K. (2011). Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. Retrieved from

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