Prevent Early School Leaving: The Risk of School Dropout Questionnaire (RSDQ)
Education and training are considered key tools in combating unemployment and social exclusion (Delors, 1993; Cresson, 1995), as well as key elements to invest in so as to promote economic growth and social development.
Against this background, it is essential to deal with the unfortunately chronic dysfunction that presently affects education and training systems: “school dropout”. This dysfunction is recognized in the international context in terms of Early School Leaver (ESL), as a result indicator that refers to persons who have now left the school and education system.
In order to counteract this dysfunction, the authors, considering this phenomenon as a derailment of studies and training systems, rather than solely as a possible negative outcome of this, put the emphasis on the level of primary prevention and on signals that may precede it.
This complex phenomenon requires the adoption of a systematic interdisciplinary approach able to fathom both the social (and personal) reality of the students and the interaction between factors which are internal and external to education and training.
Therefore, moving from a sociological approach (sociology of education), assuming the theory of disengagement (part of the present interpretative and phenomenological aspect) on school dropout and, finally, opening horizons to other disciplines (pedagogy and psychology), the authors have developed the Risk of School Dropout Questionnaire (RSDQ), validated in the Italian context.
The RSDQ, made up of an Identity form and three scales – School scale, Family influence scale and Self scale – characterizing its interdisciplinary nature, measures the risk factors that may contribute to people leaving school early. This is underpinned by a "causal model" for school dropout (Colombo, 2010), which involves personal, temporal and contextual variables, otherwise declined into the three experiential and socialisation areas: school, family and labor market.