June 2012

Middle school reforms help students stay on track to graduate

The path to dropping out or graduation starts well before a student ever steps through the doors to high school.

The California Dropout Research Project looked at middle school students to see what can be done to help students make it across the stage years later.

In the research paper, “Can Middle School Reform Increase High School Graduation Rates?”
Jacquelynne S. Eccles of the University of Michigan found that middle school students begin disengaging from academics and suggested ways to keep them on track to graduation.

Read More »

Taking a moment to reflect on those who won't be graduating

This week, as auditoriums are filled with inspirational speeches and relatives shell out $5 billion in gifts, it’s important to think about the 1.3 million students who won’t be joining in the celebration.

That’s the number of students who drop out of high school each year — about 7,000 a day, according to an article on Frontline.

Read More »

Students with health issues are more likely to drop out of school

Students who have poor health often struggle to graduate.

More specifically, students who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and have health problems find graduation a difficult goal to achieve.

“Children with poor health are likely to have difficulty learning throughout their school careers, culminating for many in failure to graduate from high school,” according to Joshua Breslen in his paper “The Connection Between Health and High School Dropout.”

Students who suffer from physical illnesses as children often miss classes, particularly those students who cannot afford treatments for conditions such as asthma and Type I diabetes.

Read More »

New Orleans celebrates gains in achievement, but some critics remain skeptical

New Orleans schools recently celebrated a victory — the graduation rate increased and test scores show more students are ready to move on to the next grade.

Read More »

Family, peers play influential roles in students’ decision to drop out

Students drop out of school for many reasons, many of which have nothing to do with what is happening within the classroom.

To better understand why students stopped attending school, Marion Terry talked with 37 learners at two Canadian adult literacy programs to determine why they had left.

The three biggest influences found in the study, “The Effects that Family Members and Peers Have on Students’ Decisions to Drop Out of School,” were parents, siblings and peers.

Parents who allowed too much television-watching or didn’t encourage reading enough had children to stop pursuing school, the study found.

“Parental endorsements of school foster their children’s academic self-esteem, self-discipline, and long-term goal planning, but poor attitudes toward school completion seriously compromise their children’s chances for graduation,” the study found.

Read More »

New Tupelo superintendent to focus on increasing graduation rate

There’s a new education sheriff in town, and he wants to see every student graduating.

Gearl Loden will focus on referring more of Tupelo’s struggling students to the High School Advancement Academy and make sure students show up for classes, according to an article in The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Read More »

Schools need coordinated help to stem the dropout tide

Schools and communities are working hard to end the dropout crisis, but they may not have the tools to do it.

In the study “Building System Capacity for Improving High School Graduation Rates in California,” Jonathan Supovitz found that while schools, districts and nonprofits all put in effort and energy to get students through school, they often don’t have the capacity to do so. He defined capacity as the ability to “deliver, or support the delivery of, assistance to students to improve learning outcomes.”

He found, though, that well-functioning school districts are in a unique position to build school capacity, but they often lack the ability to identify and coordinate the resources necessary to address issues such as dropping out.

Read More »

Dropout recovery program gets some love from the national news media

It’s always good when successful dropout recovery programs get some national attention.

NewBridge, a 20-year-old, public-private partnership that helps dropouts earn a diploma and find employment, was featured on CBS Evening News this week.

The NewBridge class just graduated 50 students who had at one time dropped out.

Read More »

Addressing the correct risk factors with the proper interventions keeps students graduating

For years, educators and researchers have attempted to determine which students are at risk of dropping out in order to help them stay in school.

Many researchers point to demographics: race, socioeconomic status, gender or parental educational achievement. However, research gathered by the Center for Public Education looked at different factors. They focused on “high-yield” risk factors at different points throughout students’ educational careers:

    •    Sixth graders with poor attendance (less than 80 percent), a failing mark for classroom behavior, a failing grade in math, or a failing grade in English had only a 10 percent chance of graduating within four years of entering high school and only a 20 percent chance of graduating a year late.

    •    Eighth graders with poor attendance (less than 80 percent) or a failing grade in math, or a failing grade in English had less than a 25 percent chance of graduating within eight years of entering high school.

    •    Among entering freshmen who had exhibited no eighth-grade risk factors, those who had very poor ninth grade attendance (less than 70 percent), who earned fewer than two credits during ninth grade, or who did not earn promotion to tenth grade had only a one-in-four chance of earning a diploma within eight years.

Read More »