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FAQ(s): Ninth Grade: Is it a make-or-break time for a successful high school career?
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On-Track Indicator as a Predictor of High School Graduation
(1) What it means to be on-track; (2) How on-track status is related to high school graduation; (3) What citywide trends in the on-track rate have been; and (4) What this information means to schools that are trying to improve their graduation and dropout rates.
Issue/Topic: High School; At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); Remediation (K-12)
Author(s): Allensworth, Elaine; Easton, John
Organization(s): Consortium on Chicago School Research University of Chicago
Season: Summer 2005
  • A student is counted as on-track at the end of the freshman year if both of the following criteria are met:

    1) The student has accumulated five full course credits, the number needed to be promoted to 10th grade according to CPS...
  • 2005-06-01T00:00:00
    Extreme Degree of Difficulty: The Educational Demographics o...
    To illustrate the complex challenges facing urban neighborhood high schools.
    Issue/Topic: Urban; High School; At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
    Author(s): Curran Neild, Ruth; Balfanz, Robert
    Organization(s): University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
    Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk
    Published On: 2006

    Characteristics that impact the probability of promotion

  • There are no statistically significant differences in the odds of nonpromotion between African American students and Whites, Asians, Latinos ...
  • 2006-01-01T00:00:00
    What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago ...
    Looks at students' performance in their coursework during their freshman year, how it is related to eventual graduation, and how personal and school factors contribute to success or failure in freshman-year courses. Pulls apart a variety of indicators of freshman course performance -- including student failures, absences and overall grades -- to learn what matters for a successful freshman year.
    Issue/Topic: Attendance--Truancy/Chronic Absence; High School; At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); Attendance
    Author(s): Allensworth, Elaine; Easton, John
    Organization(s): Consortium on Chicago School Research University of Chicago
    Season: Summer 2007

    Course Failures Matter

    • Course failures and overall GPA are strongly related. However, among students with the same number of Fs, higher grades in other courses increase the lik...
    Connecting Entrance and Departure: The Transition to Ninth G...
    To determine whether ninth-grade course failure and attendance add substantially to the ability to predict dropout.
    Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
    Author(s): Stoner-Eby, Scott; Curran Neild, Ruth; Furstenberg, Frank
    Organization(s): University of Pennsylvania; Messiah College; Johns Hopkins University
    Publication: Education and Urban Society
    Season: Summer 2008

    Dropout calculations:

    • Although nearly 60% of the Philadelphia Education Longitudinal Study (PELS) students dropped out during their third or fourth year of high school when they reached Pennsylvania's upper co...
    Still a Freshman: Examining the Prevalence and Characteristi...
    To show the potential for what could be learned if states made 9th-grade retention data readily available. By introducing the First-Time 9th-Grade Estimate, this study provides state-level estimates of 9th grade retention and examines school-level rates. Combining Promoting Power with First-Time 9th-grade Estimate enables identification of low-performing schools and whether low promotion power was caused by students being retained in 9th grade or dropping out between the 10th and 12th grade.
    Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); Promotion/Retention
    Author(s): West, Thomas
    Organization(s): Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools
    Published On: 2009
    • As school-level concentrations of poor and minority students increased, so did the percentage of students repeating 9th grade.
    • The level of school resources (measured by the calculated pupil/teacher ratio) was not a...
    The ABCs of Keeping On Track to Graduation: Research Finding...
    The study probes the relationship between 8th and 9th grade early warning indicators as predictors of graduation outcomes, as well as the relationship between 9th grade indicators and college enrollment outcomes.
    Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
    Author(s): Messel, Matthew; MacIver, Martha
    Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk
    Published On: 2013

    • Equipping schools to implement interventions to address chronic absenteeism and course failure in 9th grade is a crucial strategy for increasing both high school graduation and college enrollment.  
    • The stron...
    Building On-Track Indicators for High School Graduation and ...
    To analyze several on-track indicators that predict the likelihood of graduating with a New York State Regents Diploma; to track changes in graduation rates and in the rates at which students are on track for graduation at the end of their ninth-grade year; and, to identify student, school, and system-level characteristics associated with students' readiness for college or work.
    Issue/Topic: Data-Driven Improvement; High School--College Readiness
    Author(s): Kemple, James; Stephenson, Nickisha; Segeritz, Michael
    Organization(s): New York University
    Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR)
    Published On: 2013

    Why Are On-Track Indicators Important?

    • Being on track at the end of the ninth grade can supersede prior performance as a crucial signal about students' prospects for graduating with a Regents diploma.
    • ...
    Theory and Application of Early Warning Systems for High Sch...
    To investigate the feasibility of developing an indicator that could simultaneously convey information about both academic quantity (i.e. the accumulation of credits on a trajectory toward on-time graduation) and the quality of the academic experience (i.e. the ability to say something about how well student performance in core subjects translates to post-high school successes such as probability of college enrollment).
    Issue/Topic: High School; Data-Driven Improvement; High School--College Readiness
    Author(s): Carl, Bradley; Meyer, Robert; Cheng, Emily; Richardson, Jed; Kim, HeeJin
    Publication: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk
    Published On: 2/5/2013

    • Low GPA in core subjects and dismal prospects for college readiness may be considered “on track” for graduation, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that intervention is still needed in a different way given core GPA in the 1.0 ra...
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