Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

The report from the America’s Promise Alliance examines high school graduation rates and gives an overview of aggregate trends in high school graduation rates as well as trends broken down by ethnicity, race and region. It highlights districts and states that have been especially successful in raising graduation rates and the steps taken to achieve that success. It also proposes next steps to take to raise graduation rates in other locations, including setting rigorous standards, hiring effective teachers, and improving parent engagement.

Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2010

This report sponsored by the NGA Center for Best Practices discusses state progress in reporting a standardized graduation rate, the Compact Rate, and state efforts to improve their accountability, data systems, and data quality for state graduation rates. The report provides recommendations for further work that include promoting accurate data collection and analyses through state policies and procedures; providing guidance to districts and schools on data collection, analyses, and monitoring; and using data to inform strategies for helping more students graduate with success.

Transforming the High School Experience: How New York City’s New Small Schools Are Boosting Student Achievement and Graduation Rates

This report from MDRC examines New York City’s small schools of choice (SSC) program and presents findings from that study that show that in roughly six years, a large system of small public high schools were created and helped improve graduation prospects for many disadvantaged students. The study found that by the end of their first year of high school, 58.5 percent of SSC enrollees were on track to graduate high school in four years compared with 48.5 percent of their non-SSC counterparts.

The Impacts of Upward Bound: Final Report for Phase I of the National Evaluation

This randomized controlled trial evaluation examined the impact of Upward Bound. Although students could participate in the program for three to four years, the study found that 35 percent left after the first year and it is estimated that another 20 percent left before they graduated from high school. Furthermore, the study only had a few positive impacts on students during high school. For example, in comparison to the control group, students in the treatment group were expected to complete more years in high school and obtain more credits in math and social studies.

Paving the Way to Postsecondary Education: K-12 Intervention Programs for Underrepresented Youth

This report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) identifies and reviews selected K-12 postsecondary education college access programs. Information on how the program works and under conditions and limitations on the research are discussed, and characteristics of effective programs based on the research is provided.

Project Lead the Way Works: A New Type of Career and Technical Program

This study from the Southern Regional Education Board compared the outcomes of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) relative to the High Schools That Work (HSTW) program. The majority of study participants were white males who had parents that pursued postsecondary education. PLTW students had higher scores in math and science on the NAEP-referenced HSTW Assessment than similar HSTW career/technical students in comparable career/technical fields and all fields.

Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Interventions

This report from the National High School Center outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher-performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem.

Raising Graduation Rates in An Era of High Standards: Five Commitments for State Action

This white paper from Jobs for the Future provides state-level policymakers with a framework for raising graduation rates in their states. The five commitments offered in this piece are: 1) A High School Diploma That Signifies College and Work-Readiness, 2) Pathways to High School Graduation and College for Overage, Undercredited, and Out-of-School Youth, 3) Turnaround of Low-performing High Schools, 4) Increased Emphasis on Graduation Rates and College-Readiness in Next Generation Accountability, and 5) Early and Continuous Support for Struggling Students.


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