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Title:  Puerto Rico school characteristics and student graduation: Implications for research and policy
Description: The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between Puerto Rico’s high school characteristics and student graduation rates. The study examines graduation rates for all public high schools for students who started grade 10 in 2010/11 (in Puerto Rico high school begins in grade 10) and were expected to graduate at the end of the 2012/13 school year, which were the most recent graduation data available. Using data provided by the Puerto Rico Department of Education as well as publicly available data, this study first examined the correlational relationships between graduation rates and two types of variables: student composition characteristics, which are not amenable to change or intervention but help to improve the description of graduation trends in Puerto Rico (for example, the percentage of students who are living in poverty); and school characteristics, which are amenable to change or intervention by officials (for example, the ratio of students per teacher). Regression analyses were used to estimate the conditional association between various characteristics and on-time graduation in Puerto Rico high schools after controlling for other factors. The percentage of students proficient in Spanish language arts was associated with higher graduation rates, after controlling for other school characteristics both overall and by subgroup (males, females, students below poverty, and special education students). After controlling for other characteristics, the percentage of students proficient in mathematics was not associated with graduation rates. Lower student-to-teacher ratios were associated with higher graduation rates for males, students living in poverty, and special education students, after controlling for other school characteristics. The percentage of highly qualified teachers was associated with lower graduation rates overall and for all subgroups except females, after controlling for other school characteristics. Correlations between each school characteristic and graduation rates are also presented in the report. The findings from this study provide a starting point for stakeholders in Puerto Rico who are interested in addressing the low rates of graduation in their high schools and communities through the use of data-driven decision-making.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: April 2017
Web Release: April 11, 2017
Print Release: April 11, 2017
Publication #: REL 2017266
General Ordering Information
Center/Program: REL
Associated Centers: NCEE
Authors: Susan Therriault, Yibing Li, Monica P. Bhatt, and Jason Narlock: American Institutes for Research
Type of Product: Making Connections
Questions: For questions about the content of this Making Connections, please contact:
Amy Johnson.