Date of Award

Fall 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Educational Administration and Supervision

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd DeMitchell

Second Advisor

Joseph Onosko

Third Advisor

Thomas Higginbotham


In 2007 New Hampshire passed a law, RSA 193:1, that changed the compulsory age of education for all public school students from age 16 to age 18. The purpose of this research is to explore the effect of RSA 193:1 on dropout rates in New Hampshire’s public high schools and to examine the perception of the high school principal in understanding the effect of the law and any differential effects of the law on students. Through an examination of five years of dropout data combined with a survey to current high school principals, findings indicate that there is strong support of the change from the principals. The dropout date revealed that the percentage of students on free/reduced lunch does moderately correlate to a school’s overall dropout percentage. Through analysis of the survey, the principals denoted that they understood that both their staff and communities supported the change in compulsory age. Additionally, examination of district policy materials revealed that districts with higher dropout rates appear to have a more restrictive view of how, when, and where students can earn credit compared to districts with lower dropout rates. Continued examination suggested a stark divided in the precision of language, specifically as it relates to academic progress and support, between the high and low performing school districts.