Effects of Adult Volunteers' Presentations on High School Students' Engagement and Intent to Stay in School
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Education is a key component to building a successful life and completion of high school is a critical part of that education. The issue of students dropping out of school is one that is growing, despite many attempts by schools and the community to reverse the trend. There are many studies that have been done to determine the reasons for students not completing their high school education and the most consistent explanation appears to be that students are not engaged in their education during their high school years. This experimental study was done to examine the effects of adult volunteers on ninth grade students’ engagement in school, to see if the volunteers’ presentations helped to raise the level of engagement for the students. It used a pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design. Volunteers were recruited from a local company, trained and provided with materials to present to the students. Findings from the research indicated, contrary to expectations, an overall decrease in engagement levels with both the experimental and control group students. However, anecdotal comments made by the students with volunteers, and interviews with volunteers and teachers, suggested an increased level of interest in completing or continuing education. The number of students participating in the study was much lower than hoped for and this small sampling may have affected the results. Additional research on this topic could be helpful as the education system is going through some very challenging economic times and may need to turn to the community for assistance in the very near future.