In order to address the problem of school dropouts, we first need to understand the factors that influence youngsters decision to leave school without a degree. Many studies have focused on identifying the causes of early school leaving, as well as its consequences. Therefore, this report provides an overview of the existing academic literature related to early school leaving, covering two major topics: (1) the prevalence of ESL in Europe, Belgium and Brussels as part of the contextualization of the TICKLE project, and (2) the predictive value of factors that influence youngsters’ decision of ESL.

The literature study shows that Belgium and Brussels are performing rather poorly in terms of the EU 2020 plans to reduce the number of youngster between 18 and 24 who leave secondary education without a degree. This problematic situation is also reflected by the numbers related to the social and economic consequences known to be directly related to ESL, such as unemployment and poverty. The findings with regard to the predictive value of factors that influence youngsters’ decision to drop out indicate that ESL is a highly complex issue. Empirical studies have shown that ESL is the result of a cumulative process that can commence several years before youngsters enter secondary education. These studies also show that a very large variety of factors can play a role in the decision of ESL. These influencing factors can be categorized into three major groups related to the youngsters’ macro environment, micro environment or individual characteristics.

None of the factors identified by empirical research are conclusive in terms of predicting ESL. As a consequence, screening and prevention programs should rely on wide body of information related to multiple influencing factors to compile a more complete picture of the youngsters if they want to be successful at early detection and remediation of school burnout and ESL.

The report is written in English, but in order to increase its accessibility for local practitioners we have also included an extensive Dutch summary at the end of the document.

Download the report free of charge via this hyperlink: Report D2: State-of-the-art on Early School Leaving and Dropouts