Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008

This report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) builds upon a series of NCES reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. It presents estimates of rates in 2008, provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three and a half decades (1972–2008), and examines the characteristics of high school dropouts and completers in 2008.

Time To Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Success

This report discusses the importance of early literacy in order to prepare adolescents to be college and career ready. It states that literacy crosses over into other subject areas such as science and math and problem solving skills in life. The authors suggest that linking instruction to the growing knowledge base on literacy and using current outcome data and best practices can help bridge this gap and lead to more prepared students.

Raising Their Voices: Engaging, Students, Teachers, and Parents to Help End the High School Dropout Epidemic

This report from Civic Enterprises shares the results of focus group discussions with parents, teachers and students, and their views of the high school dropout dilemma. The authors note that each group had varying views on the causes of increased dropout and what could help improve the situation, and provide recommendations to address the perceived issues that contribute to dropping out.

The Dropout/Graduation Rate Crisis Among American Indian and Alaska Native Students: Failure to Respond Places the Future of Native Peoples at Risk

This paper from the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles uses 2005 National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) data to look at the dropout crisis among American Indian and Alaska Native students. The authors discuss implications of the findings for policy and practice and provide recommendations for future research including questions to consider to better understand the issue. They also call for the adoption and implementation of uniform reporting and data collection methods especially for this population.

Achieving Graduation for All: A Governor’s Guide to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

This report from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices addresses the alarming high school dropout rate in the United States and identifies the root causes of the high school dropout crisis. The report provides a comprehensive action plan for states to keep students in school, reengage dropouts, and help youth succeed and strengthen state economies.

Bringing Off-track Youth into the Center of High School Reform: Lessons and Tools from Leading Communities

This toolkit was created by Jobs for the Future for districts seeking to address and improve the needs of struggling students. The authors draw on lessons learned from several school communities around the country who have established effective methods for dropout prevention and systemic reform with regards to improving access and support for struggling students.

Meeting the Needs of Significantly Struggling Learners in High School: A Look at Approaches to Tiered Intervention

This brief by the National High School Center provides an in-depth look at the implementation and structural issues, as well as the needed support required to successfully institute Response to Intervention (RTI) at the secondary school level. It defines the RTI models, explores benefits and challenges faced at the high school level, shares a snapshot of implementation at the high school level, and outlines the necessary resources needed to support this work.

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.


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