What Works Clearinghouse's Dropout Prevention Recommendations

Graduating students who are college and career ready is a national priority. The U.S. Department of Education included high school dropout rates as an eligibility criterion for the School Improvement Grants, and earlier this year, provided $46,610,682 in funds for high school improvement through the High School Graduation Initiative

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has created a list of recommendations for dropout prevention, and a Dropout Prevention Practice Guide which explains the recommendations.  Each recommendation is rated according to the strength of evidence supporting them, and is presented with resources in a multi-media format on their companion Web site, Doing What Works

The WWC made the following recommendations for dropout prevention:

  1. Utilize data systems that support a realistic diagnosis of the number of students who drop out and that help identify individual students at high risk of dropping out (diagnostic).
  2. Assign adult advocates to students at risk of dropping out (targeted intervention).
  3. Provide academic support and enrichment to improve academic performance (targeted intervention).
  4. Implement programs to improve students’ classroom behavior and social skills (targeted intervention).
  5. Personalize the learning environment and instructional process (schoolwide intervention).
  6. Provide rigorous and relevant instruction to better engage students in learning and provide the skills needed to graduate and to serve them after they leave school (schoolwide intervention).

The WWC also evaluates research behind dropout prevention interventions, and currently has reviewed 28 interventions.  While their list is not comprehensive, their reviews may help schools and districts select intervention programs.

Tomorrow we will provide some information that looks at trends regarding what schools and districts are doing to prevent dropout.


Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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