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At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
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ECS High School Policy Center (HSPC)


Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2012 - Since 1972, event dropout rates have trended downwards, from 6.1 percent to 3.4 percent in 2012. The rate describes the percentage of youth ages 15 through 24 who dropped out of grades 10-12 from public or private school between one October and the next. The rate declined through the 1970s and 1980s reaching 4.0 in 1990. Between 1990 and 1995, the rate increased to 5.7 percent, then declined again, reaching 3.4 percent in 2009, and has remained at this rate through 2012. (Patrick Stark and Amber M. Noel, NCES, June 2015)...

Below the Surface: Solving the Hidden Graduation Rate Crisis - Though the United States hit a record high graduation rate with 81 percent for the class of 2013, more than 1,200 high schools, serving more than 1.1 million students, still fail to graduate one-third or more of their students, who are primarily low-income students and students of color. Research offers evidence-based strategies for turning those schools around, and reauthorization of ESEA is an opportunity to advance those efforts. (Jessica Cardichon and Phillip Lovell, Alliance for Excellent Education, April 2015)...

Early High School Dropouts: What Are Their Characteristics? - Among ninth graders in 2009, 2.7 percent didn't make it to the 11th grade, according to a federal report. Early dropout rates for Black, Hispanic and White students were 4.3 percent, 3.5 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. Males and females had about the same dropout rate. The biggest gap was between the haves and have-nots with 5 percent of early dropouts in the lowest socioeconomic fifth compared to 0.6 percent in the highest fifth. (Jeffrey A. Rosen, Xianglei Chen and Steven Ingels, National Center for Education Statistics, February 2015)...

On-Time High School Graduation: The Opportunity Picture - Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have increased their four-year high school graduation rates, according to U.S. Department of Education data from 2009-2010, but there still is a long way to go, says this brief. Factoids: Vermont and Nebraska tied for highest on-time high school graduation rates; lowest was Nevada and District of Columbia was most improved. (Opportunity Nation, December 2014)...

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic - The 2012 edition of this annual report shows that the nation continues to make progress in reducing dropout rates, with more than half of the states increasing graduation rates. The report also reveals that the number of "dropout factory" high schools—those graduating 60 percent or fewer students on time—decreased between 2002 and 2010, with the rate of decline accelerating since 2008. As a result, 790,000 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2010 than 2002. (Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, March, 2012)...

Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City's Small Public High Schools of Choice - This policy brief is a follow-up to a study that evaluated the effects that small public high schools of choice had on improving academic progress and graduation rates for disadvantaged students in NYC. The original study followed one cohort of students through four years of high school. Results indicated that the small schools of choice increased student progress toward graduation during their first three years of high school and increased students' four-year graduation rates. This brief extends the analysis by one year and finds that the positive effects are sustainable behind the initial cohort. (MDRC, Jan 2012)...

Transitioning to the New High School Graduation Rate - In the 2011-2012 school year, all states are required to begin publicly reporting high school graduation rates using a single formula: the federal four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (four-year ACGR) which tracks the progress of a group of ninth-grade students through high school toward graduation. The new rate will become part of federal accountability requirements in 2012-2013. (Matthew Lenard, SREB, June 2011)...

High School Dropout, Graduation and Completion Rates: Better Data, Better Measures, Better Decisions - High school graduation and dropout rates have long been used as indicators of educational system productivity and effectiveness and of social and economic well being. While determining these rates may seem like a straightforward task, their calculation is, in fact, complicated. This report describes: (1) the strengths, limitations, accuracy and utility of the available dropout and completion measures; (2) the state of the art with respect to longitudinal data systems; and (3) ways that dropout and completion rates can be used to improve policy and practice. (National Academies Press, 2010)...

The Rural Dropout Problem: An Invisible Achievement Gap - This report reviews high school dropout rates and related factors in rural high schools throughout 15 Southern and Southwestern states. These schools are in districts that are among the 800 rural districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally. Seventy-seven percent of the "Rural 800" districts and 87% of the students in them are in these 15 targeted states. These high-poverty rural school districts are more racially and ethnically diverse than all other rural school districts and all other districts of any kind. Nearly three in five of the students in these districts are people of color. (Rural School and Community Trust, May 2010)...


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