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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCEE 2021004 State and District Strategies to Reduce Dropouts
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) encourages states and districts to support students' transitions from one level of schooling to the next to reduce the risk of their dropping out. This snapshot presents findings from national surveys in 2018. Most states and districts are providing some types of transition and dropout prevention services, such as individualized career plans to help students identify and work toward their long-term goals and course offerings to help students who have fallen behind get back on track for graduation. However, many fewer states and districts have early warning systems designed to proactively identify the students most at-risk and in need of services and target such services.
NFES 2019035 Forum Guide to Early Warning Systems
The Forum Guide to Early Warning Systems provides information and best practices to help education agencies plan, develop, implement, and use an early warning system in their agency to inform interventions that improve student outcomes. The document includes a review of early warning systems and their use in education agencies and explains the role of early warning indicators, quality data, and analytical models in early warning systems. It also describes how to adopt an effective system planning process and recommends best practices for early warning system development, implementation, and use. The document highlights seven case studies from state and local education agencies who have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, an early warning system.
WWC PGDP24 Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools
This practice guide provides school educators and administrators with four evidence-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and high schools and improving high school graduation rates. Each recommendation provides specific, actionable strategies; examples of how to implement the recommended practices in schools; advice on how to overcome potential obstacles; and a description of the supporting evidence.
REL 2017261 Are two commonly used early warning indicators accurate predictors of dropout for English learner students? Evidence from six districts in Washington state
This study examined the graduation and dropout rates of current and former English learner students compared to those who had never been English learners in six school districts in the south King County area of Washington state. It also looked at the accuracy of the early warning indicators used to predict dropping out--such as attendance, course failures, and suspensions--for different groups of English learner and non-English learner students. The six districts are part of the Road Map Project, an ambitious cradle-to-career initiative that seeks to double the number of students on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential between 2010 and 2020. As part of the initiative, the districts have been using a common set of early warning indicators since 2011. The authors examined up to eight years of data on a total of 9,595 students who entered high school in 2008/09 in one of the six study districts. This report highlights notable differences in graduation and dropout rates among subgroups of English learner students. It also finds that the early warning indicators used by the six districts were poor predictors of dropout for all students, but particularly for newcomer English learner students. This may be evidence of the importance of selecting and validating indicators specific to the population for which they will be used. Given that the accuracy of the Road Map Project indicators varied for subgroups of English learner students, other states and districts may want to examine the accuracy of their own indicators for different student populations. If early warning indicators are weaker for a specific subgroup of English learner students, then teachers, counselors, and others may want to monitor the needs of that group in other ways.
REL 2015056 A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Early Warning Systems
To stem the tide of students dropping out, many schools and districts are turning to early warning systems (EWS) that signal whether a student is at risk of not graduating from high school. While some research exists about establishing these systems, there is little information about the actual implementation strategies that are being used across the country. This report summarizes the experiences and recommendations of EWS users throughout the United States.
REL 2014005 Does raising the state compulsory school attendance age achieve the intended outcomes?
Many states have raised the compulsory school attendance age to 17 or 18, anticipating that a reduction in dropout, truancy, and discipline problems will more than compensate for the higher costs of educating students longer. This review examines the evidence on whether a higher compulsory school attendance age results in improved student outcomes.

Against this background, this review addresses the following research questions:
  • What changes have occurred in dropouts, truancy, and disciplinary actions in states that raised their compulsory school attendance age during 2002–11?
  • What broader social outcomes have been identified in studies using national datasets?
  • How have these states measured changes in these expected outcomes?
REL 2012134 Using the Freshman On-Track Indicator to Predict Graduation in Two Urban Districts in the Midwest Region
This report examines how well the freshman on-track indicator developed by the Consortium on Chicago School Research predicts on-time graduation in two urban districts in the Midwest Region. This indicator classifies students at the end of the first year of high school as on-track or off-track to graduate based on grade 9 course credits earned and failures.

REL Midwest examined on-track and off-track rates and for recent freshman cohorts as well as 4-year graduation rates for on-track and off-track students.

Key findings include:
  • For both districts, students who were on track at the end of grade 9 graduated on time at a higher rate than did students who were off track. This was the case both overall and for student subgroups based on gender, race/ethnicity, special education status, free or reduced-price lunch status, age, and proficiency level on grade 8 state math and reading assessments.
  • For the 2005/06 cohort, the on-time graduation rate in District A was 80.7 percent for on-track students and 30.2 percent for off-track students; in District B, it was 91 percent for on-track students and 45 percent for off-track students.
  • On-track status was a significant predictor of on-time graduation, even after controlling for student background characteristics and grade 8 achievement test scores. The effect size for on-track status was larger than the effect sizes for any student background characteristic and for achievement test scores.
REL 2012020 Updating a Searchable Database of Dropout Prevention Programs and Policies in Nine Low-Income Urban School Districts in the Northeast and Islands Region
This technical brief describes updates to a database of dropout prevention programs and policies in 2006/07 created by the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Northeast and Islands and described in the Issues & Answers report, Piloting a searchable database of dropout prevention programs in nine low-income urban school districts in the Northeast and Islands Region (Myint-U et al. 2009). To update the database, a key informant from each of the nine pilot districts was interviewed on the status and characteristics of the dropout prevention pro-grams and policies in 2010/11. Based on this new information, this brief classifies programs and policies as new, discontinued, or sustained since 2006/07, the years in which programs were included in the database (Myint-U et al. 2009). The term active is used to refer to the combination of new and sustained programs and policies—that is, all programs and policies being implemented in 2010/11.
NCES 2012022 Public-Use Data Files and Documentation (FRSS 99): Dropout Prevention Services and Programs Survey
This file contains data from a fast-response survey titled "Dropout Prevention Services and Programs." This survey provides national estimates on how public school districts identify students at risk of dropping out, programs used specifically to address the needs of students at risk of dropping out of school, the use of mentors for at-risk students, and efforts to encourage dropouts to return to school. NCES released the results of this survey in the First Look report “Dropout Prevention Services and Programs in Public School Districts: 2010–11” (NCES 2011-037).

Questionnaires and cover letters were mailed to the superintendent of each sampled school district in September 2010. The letter introduced the study and requested that the questionnaire be completed by the person most knowledgeable about dropout prevention services and programs in the district. Respondents were offered the option of completing the survey via the Web. Telephone follow-up for survey nonresponse and data clarification was initiated in October 2010 and completed in January 2011. The weighted response rate was 89 percent.

The survey asked respondents to report information on various services or programs offered by districts specifically to address the needs of students at risk of dropping out of school. Respondents reported on the types of transition support services used to help all students transition from a school at one instructional level to a school at a higher instructional level. Data on the various factors used to identify students who were at risk of dropping out were also collected. Other survey topics included whether the district tried to determine the status of students who were expected to return to school in the fall but who do not return as expected, and whether the district follows up before the next school year with students who drop out to encourage them to return to school. Respondents also reported whether the district used various types of information to determine whether to implement additional district-wide dropout prevention efforts.
NCES 2011037 Dropout Prevention Services and Programs in Public School Districts: 2010–11
This report provides national estimates about dropout prevention services and programs in public school districts. The estimates presented in this report are based on a district survey about dropout prevention services and programs offered by the district or by any of the schools in the district during the 2010–11 school year.
REL 2011103 Dropout Prevention Programs in Nine Mid-Atlantic Region School Districts: Additions to a Dropout Prevention Database
This report describes dropout prevention programs identified by respondents in nine school districts in the Mid-Atlantic Region, along with a searchable database of the programs. The programs expand a database developed in an earlier North-east and Islands Region study. Only 1 of the 58 identified programs has been reviewed for effectiveness by the What Works Clearinghouse.
WWC IRDPSC10 Service and Conservation Corps
Service and Conservation Corps engages young adults in full-time community service, job training, and educational activities. The program serves youth typically between the ages of 17 and 26 who have dropped out of school, been involved with the criminal justice system, or face other barriers to success. The WWC reviewed 23 studies that investigated the effects of Service and Conservation Corps. One study meets WWC evidence standards with reservations. This study included 626 at-risk youths primarily between ages 17-26 who participated in community service projects in California, Florida, New York, and Washington State. Based on this study, the WWC found Service and Conservation Corps to have no discernible effects on completing school for at-risk youth.
WWC IRDPNG10 The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a residential education and training program designed for youth ages 16 to 18 who have dropped out of or been expelled from high school. During the 22-week residential period, participants are offered GED preparation classes and other program services intended to promote positive youth development. The WWC reviewed 14 studies that investigated the effects of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. One study meets WWC evidence standards. This study included 1,196 youth in 10 states. Based on its review of the research, the WWC found the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program to have potentially positive effects on completing school for at-risk youth.
WWC IRDOYB09 YouthBuild
No studies of YouthBuild that fall within the scope of the Dropout Prevention review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards. The lack of studies meeting WWC evidence standards means that, at this time, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of YouthBuild.
WWC 20094066 Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do
Access to higher education remains a challenge for many students who face academic and informational barriers to college entry. This guide targets high schools and school districts, and focuses on effective practices that prepare students academically for college, assist them in completing the steps to college entry, and improve their likelihood of enrolling in college.
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