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At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)Selected Research & Readings (Additional Resources)
 
  AT-RISK (INCL. DROPOUT PREVENTION)
 
What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings
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At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)--Drugs/Alcohol
Mentoring/Tutoring
Scheduling/School Calendar--Extended Day Programs
Scheduling/School Calendar--Summer School
Special Populations--Homeless Education


Qualified Teachers for At-Risk Schools: A National Imperative PDF - The goal of this report is to discuss what we know and don’t know about the challenge of staffing at-risk schools, and to identify some of the strategies that policymakers and other key stakeholders can consider in their efforts to ensure students in all schools have the high-quality teachers they need and deserve. (National Partnership for At-Risk Schools, February 2005)...

Alternative Schools: What's in a Name? - This brief describes the origins of alternative schools, different structures of alternative schools and programs, and student achievement, particularly in Indiana. Furthermore, this brief addresses how stereotypes affect alternative schools and their students as well as whether alternative schools support and/or segregate specific groups of students. (Kelly Cable, Jonathan Plucker and Terry Spradliln, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Winter 2009)...

High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2007--Compendium Report - This report presents estimates of rates in 2007, provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three decades and examines the characteristics of high school dropouts and high school completers in 2007. (National Center for Education Statistics, September 2009)...

Disconnected Youth: A Look at 16- to 24-Year Olds Who Are Not Working or In School - Primarily statistical, this report covers poverty status, living arrangements, educational attainment and employment status for at-risk young adults. (Congressional Research Service, April 2009)...

Dropout Prevention - IES Practice Guide - A dropout prevention meta-analysis by the U.S. Education Department’s What Works Clearinghouse makes six specific recommendations, each featuring the evidence behind it, advice on carrying them out, roadblocks to look out for and suggested roadblock approaches. These six recommendations fall into three categories: (1) diagnostic processes for identifying student-level and schoolwide dropout problems, (2) targeted interventions for at-risk middle and high school students, and (3) schoolwide reforms to enhance engagement for all students and prevent dropout more generally. (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2008)...

Using Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery - Today’s online programs and schools offer a broad range of online courses and services to reach a variety of students, from struggling to gifted, who seek personalized pathways to learning opportunities. As online programs increasingly focus on at-risk students and credit recovery, educators are finding that reaching these students presents a specific set of issues that are explored in this paper. (John Watson and Butch Gemin, North American Council for Online Learning, June 2008)...

Career and Technical Education's Role in Dropout Prevention and Recovery - This issue brief explores the critical role that career and technical education (CTE) plays in dropout prevention and recovery. High quality CTE can help more students persist in and complete high school by preparing them for the postsecondary education and training that will be critical to future economic successes; increasing student engagement; building positive relationships; and by providing innovative delivery methods. (Association for Career and Technical Education, August 2007)...

Education and Public Safety - The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. This report compares state-level education data with crime rates and incarceration rates and finds that those states that have focused the most on education tend to have lower violent crime rates and lower incarceration rates. Research suggests that increased investments in quality education can have a positive public safety benefit. (Justice Policy Institute, August 2007)...

High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools - This fascinating brief discusses the financial implications of high school dropout rates for the dropout, the state and the nation during the lifetime of the student. Some states could see staggering financial benefits from higher numbers of graduates, and the nation as a whole could see upwards of $300 billion in additional income. (Alliance for Excellent Education, January 2007)...

Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-2005 - Using a unique set of data obtained from the Kids Integrated Data System, this report addresses three central sets of questions: (1) How many students in 6th-12th grades drop out of Philadelphia’s public schools in a single year and what are the key characteristics of these students? (2) What percentage of 9th graders graduates within a given set of years and what are the trends of these students and among various student groups? and (3) Which student characteristics can identify students as being at high risk of dropping out of high school? (Ruth Curran Neil and Robert Balfanz, Center for Social Organization of Schools, 2007)...

Understanding Recent Changes in Child Poverty - Over the past 10 years, U.S. child poverty rates took two sharp turns: a major reduction from 1993 to 2000 followed by a slight hike from 2000 to 2004. This brief shows that economic conditions, together with parental education and work, are the dominant factors behind recent changes in child poverty. Changes in the share of families headed by single parents seem to have played almost no role in the recent changes in child poverty. According to the analysis, the 1993 to 2000 drop in child poverty is largely due to improvements in the job market, especially for less-educated workers. The report finds that the economic downturn beginning in 2000 hit all families, even those with more education, but the families of black children were hit hardest. (Austin Nichols, The Urban Institute, August 2006) ...

Too Big To Be Seen: The Invisible Dropout Crisis in Boston and America - The Boston Public Schools district loses as many as a third of its students to dropouts and although other major cities have dropout rates approaching 50%, dropouts in Boston fare worse than almost anywhere else. The dropout crisis hurts all of society, as it fuels poverty, exacerbates conflicts in the community and raises public costs for health care, housing, law enforcement and social services. This report is meant to serve as both a primer on the dropout issue and a roadmap for the necessary work that lies ahead. (Boston Private Industry Council, May 2006) ...

The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts - This study, based on the findings of focus groups and surveys of high school dropouts age 16-25, reports the reasons these young people gave for dropping out of high school and proposes ways states might help at-risk students stay in school. Contrary to popular belief, nearly nine in 10 of the dropouts had passing grades, and 62% had "C's and above." Two-thirds said they would have worked harder had expectations been higher. The most common reason participants gave for dropping out (47%) was that classes were not interesting. Participants noted supports that would have helped them stay in school. (John M. Bridgeland, John J. DiIulio, Jr. and Karen Burke Morison, Civic Enterprises, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, March 2006)...

Whatever It Takes: How Twelve Communities Are Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth - This report offers profiles of 12 diverse dropout recovery programs in cities nationwide. Profiles provide information on each program’s components, funding supports, evidence of success and contact information. An appendix includes profiles of major national program models serving out-of-school youth. The authors propose observations on dropout recovery efforts, many of which should be of interest to policymakers and other stakeholders. Among these observations: The vast majority of out-of-school youth have been impeded not only by poor prior schooling, but also by social, economic and psychological barriers to effective learning. To become successful adults, they need multiple supports. Beyond question, youth must acquire literacy, numeracy and communication skills to be adequately prepared for adult life. In addition, service to others and to the community is a key element of many dropout prevention efforts. (Nancy Martin and Samuel Halperin, American Youth Policy Forum, March 2006)...

Resilient Children: Literature Review and Evidence from the HOPE VI Panel Study - Resilient children are those who thrive despite the many risks they face. This report reviews existing research from a range of social science disciplines to identify key factors that seem to be related to resiliency and understand the ways in which these factors act to protect children from negative outcomes. Then, using data from the HOPE VI Panel Study, the report explores which of these factors are related to resiliency in a sample of children from HOPE VI developments. Finally, the authors discuss the potential implications of this research for policy. An annotated bibliography on resiliency is included in appendix A. (Elizabeth Cove, Michael Eiseman and Susan J. Popkin, The Urban Institute, December 2005)...

One-Third of a Nation: Rising Dropout Rates and Declining Opportunities - The author examines the varying reports of high school graduation/completion rates in the 50 states and the change in completion rates from 1990 to 2000. The report also considers the factors – including socioeconomic characteristics, two-parent families and not changing schools – that appear to play a role in a student’s choice to finish high school, and the actual and predicted high school completion rates based on these factors. The author likewise provides profiles of dropout prevention and second-chance programs, points to the dearth of guidance counselors in schools where they’re needed most and analyzes the employment status and earning power of dropouts, both historically and today. According to the report, the high school completion rate dropped from 1990 to 2000 in all but seven states, and declined by eight or more percentage points in 10 states. (Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service, 2005)...

The Alternative Pathways Project: A Framework for Dropout Reduction and Recovery - This report explains the elements essential to alternative pathways that ready all students for college and the workplace. The authors propose two prerequisites for such a system – balanced school reform and early intervention strategies – as well as six system components: (1) shared responsibility and systemic coordination; (2) adequate supply of choice-based, high-quality alternatives; (3) ability to refer, transition and re-enroll; (4) guidance and advocacy; (5) flexible demonstrations of proficiency; and (6) policy incentives. An assessment tool allows users to evaluate whether their school possesses the defined prerequisites and is in the early, growth or advanced stages of addressing each of the six system components. (J.D. Hoye and Chris Sturgis, The Alternative Pathways Project, June 2005)...

Essential Tools -- Increasing Rates of School Completion: Moving From Policy and Research to Practice - This report examines what we know on dropout prevention – including how dropout rates are measured, who drops out and why, and what components should be included in dropout prevention programs – and provides details about 11 dropout prevention programs or strategies whose success is supported by high-quality research. Part IV of the report provides information on resources, organizations or Web sites related to dropout prevention initiatives or conducting dropout prevention research. The Appendix includes one-pagers that can be reproduced as handouts on national dropout/school completion statistics, who drops out and why, and preventing dropout and promoting school completion. (Camilla A. Lehr, David R. Johnson, Christine D. Bremer, Anna Cosio and Megan Thompson, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, May 2004)...

Educational Attainment of High School Dropouts 8 Years Later - This three-page brief examines the educational attainment of a cohort of 1988 8th-graders who had dropped out at least once between grade eight and spring 1994. The authors found that 92% of 1988 8th-graders, regardless of dropout status, and 63% of the dropouts in that group, earned a high school diploma or alternative as of spring 2000. Forty-three percent of the cohort who dropped out at least once in high school had gone on to postsecondary education. Twenty-seven percent of the dropouts who matriculated to a postsecondary institution reported earning a certificate or license, and 9% reported completing an associate’s degree or higher by spring 2000. (David Hurst, Dana Kelly and Daniel Princlotta, National Center for Education Statistics, November 2004)...

From the Prison Track to the College Track: Pathways to Postsecondary Success for Out-of-School Youth - Four innovative types of high school experiences — reinvented high schools, secondary/postsecondary blends, education/employment blends and extended learning opportunities (outside the school day, year and building) — are proposed as means to encourage youth at risk of dropping out to remain in school and go on to post-diploma success. The authors provide statistical background on the at-risk population, identify the unique characteristics that make these programs work, and identify four high schools — one employing each approach — that help disengaged youth graduate and go on to college and/or meaningful employment. The report likewise calls for specific changes in policy approaches and attitudes to prevent students from dropping out and to assist them in re-entering the system if they leave. [Free registration required to access report.] (Lili Allen, Cheryl Almeida and Adria Steinberg, Jobs for the Future, April 2004)...

Locating the Dropout Crisis MS Word - Using data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics, the authors measured the "promoting power" of 10,000 regular and vocational high schools that enroll more than 300 students. The researchers found that Montana, Utah and West Virginia stand out as states in which all groups of students attend high schools with decent promoting power except for Native Americans. This executive summary highlights other central findings of the study. (Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University, June 2004)...

Profiles of Partnerships, Programs, and Practices To Illustrate the U.S. Employment and Training Administration's New Vision for Youth Services - In today's knowledge-intensive economy, education beyond high school is critical to economic self-sufficiency, and the U.S. Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has laid out a strategic vision to serve the vulnerable group of young people who do not complete high school. This paper offers a series of profiles developed by Jobs for the Future of on-the-ground partnerships, programs and practices that illustrate aspects of ETA's new vision for youth services. [Free registration required to access report.] (Jobs for the Future, October 2004)...

Resiliency: What We Have Learned - In the online preface and first three chapters of this book, the author relates the tremendous growth in interest since the 1990s in the topic of youth resiliency. Noting that, as they mature, the majority of youth growing up with risk factors or even multiple risk factors manage to become like their peers without risk factors, Benard observes that many myths about resiliency still prevail. In Chapter Two, the author identifies four categories of traits that foster resiliency — social competence, problem solving, autonomy and sense of purpose — as well as specific learnable attributes associated with each of these overarching categories. (Bonnie Benard, WestEd, 2004)...

The Dropout Crisis: Promising Approaches in Prevention and Recovery - This brief describes current practice in both dropout prevention and outreach to dropouts, highlighting promising approaches in each area that can help reduce stubbornly high dropout rates. Suggestions for how state policymakers can help promote a more systemic approach to the dropout crisis include getting accurate dropout counts, providing funding for programs that meet the needs of dropouts and establishing connections between high school and postsecondary education, especially community colleges. [Free registration required to access report.] (Adria Steinberg and Cheryl Almeida, Jobs for the Future, June 2004) ...

No More Islands: Family Involvement in 27 School and Youth Programs - Arguing that school and youth programs should not treat participating children as "islands" but rather involve the participants' families to improve youth outcomes, the authors highlight the family involvement component of 27 programs. They report that family involvement takes various forms across the programs, and that, while it cannot be said that family involvement causes youth development, all of the programs that had this component indicated positive outcomes for participating youth. The authors likewise recommend ways that policymakers and school and youth program practitioners can strengthen youth program outcomes through family involvement. (Donna Walker James and Glenda Partee, American Youth Policy Forum, 2003)...

Title I Funding: Poor Children Benefit Though Funding Per Poor Child Differs - While state and local funds account for over 90% of national education expenditures, Title I is an important source of funding for many high-poverty districts and schools. According to this study, the allocation of Title I funds does not encourage states to target their own funds to children from low-income families. It also found that the Title I statute and regulations provide no monetary, statutory or regulatory incentive for them to do so. For example, states do not receive extra Title I funding in return for targeting state funds to poor children. Two factors account for this lack of responsiveness – a lack of current poverty data and various hold-harmless provisions. (General Accounting Office, U.S. GAO-02-242, 2002)...

Academic Success Among Poor and Minority Students: An Analysis of Competing Models of School Effects - Based on national data, this report identifies the individual characteristics that distinguished academically successful or resilient elementary school students from minority and low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds from their less successful, or nonresilient counterparts. Results suggest that minority students from low SES backgrounds were exposed to greater risks and fewer resilience-promoting conditions than otherwise similar low SES white students. Greater engagement in academic activities, an internal locus of control, effectiveness in math, a more positive outlook toward school and a more positive self-esteem were characteristic of all low SES students who achieved resilient outcomes. The most powerful school characteristics for promoting resiliency were represented by a supportive school community model, which included elements that actively shielded children from adversity. The implications of these findings for theory and for policy are discussed in the report. (Geoffrey D. Borman and Laura T. Rachuba, CRESPAR Report No. 52, February 2001)...

BIA and DOD Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ from Public Schools - Students in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) school system have much lower academic achievement than students in public schools. These achievement problems are attributed to low family income, difficulty in recruiting and retaining administrative staff and problems with school facilities. On the other hand, the report found, Department of Defense (DOD) schools perform better than public schools. The academic achievement of DOD students generally exceeds that of elementary and secondary students nationwide; and on college admission tests, DOD students score at or near national averages. DOD school administrators indicated that nearly all their teachers are fully certified for the subjects or grade levels they teach and about two-thirds have advanced degrees. (General Accounting Office, September 2001)...

Child Care Patterns of School-Age Children with Employed Mothers - Arranging child care for school-age children presents a difficult set of challenges for working families. This report investigates the different types of child care arrangements, including unsupervised "self-care," that families with working mothers use for their school-age children. Specifically, the study examines how child care patterns differ by the age of the child, family income, race and ethnicity, parental time available to care for children (based on family structure and employment), whether the mother works "traditional" versus "nontraditional" hours and by state. (Jeffrey Capizzano, Kathryn Tout, Gina Adams, The Urban Institute and Child Trends, 2001)...

Critical Issue: Beyond Social Promotion and Retention: Five Strategies To Help Students Succeed - This issue brief from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) discusses research findings that social promotion and retention polices are ineffective in improving student performance. The brief offers five alternative strategies to help students succeed. (Debra Johnson, NCREL, 2001)...

Evaluating the Accelerated Schools Approach: A Look at Early Implementation and Impacts on Student Achievement in Eight Elementary Schools - “Accelerated schools” is a schoolwide reform model that seeks to speed up the learning of children at risk of school failure. An independent evaluation of the program reform in eight elementary schools around the country found that when the program is executed over several years, 3rd-grade test scores begin to rise and, by the fifth year, exceed predicted levels in reading and math. (Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, 2001)...

Social Capital and Dropping Out of High School: Benefits to At-Risk Students of Teachers' Support and Guidance - Do teachers provide students with valuable forms of social capital? Do these forms of social capital increase the likelihood that students complete high school, particularly students who are at risk of failure? This report, from the Teachers College Record, uses data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study to address these two questions. The study found that while teacher-based forms of social capital are generally beneficial for all students, students at risk of dropping out of high school benefit most. (Robert Croninger and Valerie E. Lee, Teachers College Record, 2001)...

The Forgotten Half Revisited: American Youth and Young Families, 1988-2008 MS Word - The nearly 10 million 18-to-24-year-old Americans who do not go on to college after high school are not doing as well at the end of the 1990s as they were a decade ago. In 1988, these young Americans were the focus of two landmark reports, The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America and The Forgotten Half: Pathway to Success for America's Youth and Young Families. Most key indicators – as examined in essays by 15 prominent experts and commentators on such topics as public schooling, postsecondary education, family life, preparation for employment, youth and community development, and national service – show either disturbing stagnation or, in some areas, marked retrogression. The report is available for $15 from the American Youth Policy Forum, 1836 Jefferson Place, NW, Washington, DC 20036, 202-775-9731; Click here to order. (Samuel Halperin, ed., American Youth Policy Forum, 2001)...

Understanding Dropouts: Statistics, Strategies and High-Stakes Testing - Dropping out is not an isolated event, but a gradual process that begins long before a student actually leaves school, according to this report from the National Academies' Center for Education. The report says that inadequate data on key questions are preventing educators from identifying students at risk of school failure early, when intervention could make a difference. The report can be purchased for $18 from the National Academy Press on the web or by phone: 888.624.8373. (Alexandra Beatty, Ulric Neisser, William T. Trent and Jay P. Heubert, Editors, National Academy Press, 2001)...

At-Risk Youth: School-Community Collaborations Focus on Improving Student Outcomes - This report focuses on school and community collaborations for improving student outcomes for at-risk youth. To better provide the support needed for such students to succeed in school and beyond, some schools and school districts have intensified their collaboration with businesses, community agencies and other neighborhood organizations – efforts which go substantially beyond the usual links between schools and other agencies or organizations. The goals of these initiatives center on helping students achieve in school and readying them for life after graduation. (General Accounting Office, Report #01-66, October 2000)...

School Poverty and Academic Performance: NAEP Achievement in High-Poverty Schools -- A Special Evaluation Report for the National Assessment of Title I MS Word - This report presents findings from analyses of student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the context of school poverty in the United States. This evaluation points to a continuing gap in student achievement between high- and low-poverty schools, but shows that students in high-poverty schools are making progress in math. The report presents analyses of recent national and state NAEP assessment results in reading and math for 4th grade and 9-year-old students in high- and low-poverty schools. (U. S. Department of Education, Planning and Evaluation Service, September 1998)...

Confronting the Odds: Students At Risk and the Pipeline to Higher Education MS Word - This report aims to understand critical junctures in the pipeline to college enrollment where at-risk high school graduates leave at substantially higher rates than their counterparts not at risk. It also identifies factors that contribute to at-risk students' successful navigation of the pipeline to college enrollment. A few of the key findings include: (1) among 1992 high school graduates with no risk factors, 58% successfully navigated the pipeline to enrollment in a four-year college, compared with 30% of students at risk; (2) 56% of at-risk students aspired to a bachelor's degree in the 10th grade, compared with 81% not at risk; (3) about 44% of at-risk students were at least minimally prepared academically to attend a four-year college, compared with 75% of students not at risk; (4) among students who took college entrance exams, 13% of at-risk students did not apply to college, compared with 9% of those not at risk; and (5) among students who applied to one or more four-year colleges, about 16% of at-risk students did not enroll, compared with 12% of students not at risk. (National Center for Education Statistics, December 1997)...


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