Conceptualizations of school dropout and retention from Chilean educational actors’ perspectives

Michelle Mendoza Lira, Emilio Ballesta Acevedo, Solange Muñoz Jorquera, Carmen Gloria Covarrubias Apablaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Chile, despite recognizing the role of schools in retention and dropout, research on the vision of educational actors regarding the conceptualizations attributed to these concepts is scant. Instead, research has focused more on understanding the causes and consequences of the aforementioned phenomena. Using a qualitative approach with a phenomenological scope, this study interviews teachers, school authorities, and support professionals in four schools in Valparaíso, Chile, to understand the meaning and importance they attribute to school retention and dropout. These educational establishments have the particularity of having a high rate of students at risk of dropping out; however, simultaneously, they manage to retain them, according to the indicators designed by the central government. Study shows that school dropout and retention are described as multidimensional phenomena linked to each other, against which schools play an important role. These findings coincide both with what has been described in the literature and what the Chilean Ministry of Education has tried to promote, thereby giving schools more accountability over these educational phenomena and their solution. Therefore, these ways of understanding such concepts could allow laying foundations for systematic action for ensuring successful educational trajectories for young people and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-235
Number of pages20
JournalParticipatory Educational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023


  • conceptualization
  • educational actors
  • School dropout
  • school retention
  • secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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