Few would argue that out of school learning is unimportant for preparing students for postsecondary learning and careers. Most would suggest that some form of work-based, even workplace-based, learning in fact adds value to a high school diploma. We agree, and propose that these "leaving to learn" opportunities are not only important but essential if we are to keep all students in school deeply engaged in productive learning.
Looking for new high school-related resources? Here are some pieces that other organizations have recently released:*
This 2012 report update provides a number of key findings that demonstrate the U.S. continues to make progress in curbing high school dropout, with more than half of states increasing graduation rates. Among the findings, the report notes that the number of "dropout factory" high schools decreased by 457 between 2002 and 2010; the number of “dropout factories” totaled number declined by 84 between 2009 and 2010. As a result, 790,000 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2010 than 2002.
This technical brief by Uekawa, Merola, Fernandez, and Porowski presents a historical analysis of key indicators of dropout for Delaware students in grades 9-12. The authors identified three key indicators of dropouts: (1) students’ attendance; (2) students’ math course grades; and (3) students’ English language arts (ELA) course grades. They found that the greater the number of risk indicators among a group of students, the higher the rate of student dropout in that group.
This research by Suh, Suh, and Houston examines key contributing factors to school dropout among three categories of at-risk students: those with low grade point averages, those who had been suspended, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1997 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002), the authors found that student dropout rates were affected depending on the student membership in those three at-risk categories. This research may be particularly useful to schools looking at factors related to student dropout rates.
This research by Neild, Stoner-Eby, and Furstenberg used survey and student record data for a cohort of Philadelphia public school students. The authors found that ninth-grade outcomes add substantially to the ability to predict dropouts. They recommend that schools looking to decrease dropout rates focus on the high school transition year. This research may be particularly useful to districts or schools looking at ninth-grade indicators to predict those students at risk of dropping out of school.
This research by MacIver and MacIver analyzed Baltimore City Schools data for the 6,662 first-time ninth graders in 2007-08. The authors found chronic absenteeism was widespread, core course failure was even more common than chronic absenteeism, and suspensions were much less prevalent. They assert that to raise the graduation rate in Baltimore City will require specifically targeted efforts to increase attendance and reduce ninth grade course failure.
This research by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium examined the drop out indicators from the Baltimore City Schools class of 2007. The authors identified chronic absence; failing English, or math, or both and/or a failing average for English, math science, and social studies; being at least one year overage; and being suspended for three or more days. This resource may be particularly useful for districts or schools looking to use drop out indicators in the middle grades to identify students in need of intervention efforts.
This article from Balfanz, Herzog, and MacIver discusses the early identification and intervention system for middle-grade schools that can be used to combat student disengagement and increase graduation rates. The authors used longitudinal analysis to demonstrate how four predictive indicators can be used to identify 60% of students who will not graduate from high school. They provide recommendations on combining effective whole-school reforms to increase graduation rates. This resource may be particularly useful to districts or schools looking to improve graduation rates.
This study explores the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and educational attainment (the likelihood of dropping out of high school and college completion) among white and black youth. In general, youth in higher-quality neighborhoods are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to complete college. Neighborhood characteristics significantly contribute to the likelihood of disadvantaged black youth dropping out of high school but are not significantly related to their college attainment.