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REPORTS

A selection of research and policy reports on high school dropouts and graduates issued by outside research, policy, and advocacy organizations. The reports are listed chronologically by date of issue.

The list was created using the EdResearch database, a searchable database of reports on issues affecting linguistic minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants

April 2014
Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12
NCES
Read more

January 2014
Beyond the GED: Promising Models for Moving High School Dropouts To College
MDRC
Read more

October 2013
Truancy in California
California Attorney General
Read more

August 2013
Sustained Progress: New Findings About the Effectiveness and Operation of Small Public High Schools of Choice in New York City
MDRC
Read more

July 2013
The Effect of High School Exit Exams on Graduation, Employment, Wages and Incarceration
NBER
Read more

June 2013
Diplomas Count 2013: Second Chances
Education Week
Read more

May 2013
Hispanic High School Graduates Pass Whites in Rate of College Enrollment
Pew Research Hispanic Center
Read more

April 2013
College Readiness as a Graduation Requirement: An Assessment of San Diego's Challenges
Public Policy Institute of California
Read more

February 2013
Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic
America's Promise Alliance
Read more

January 2013
U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Read more

January 2013
Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

October 2012
State High School Exit Exams: A Policy in Transition
Center on Education Policy
Read More

October 2012
The Urgency of Now: Public Education and Black Males
Schott Foundation for Public Education
Read More

July 2012
The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation's Public Schools
Everyone Graduates Center
Read More

July 2012
Teen pregnancy and high school dropout
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and America's Promise
Read More

April 1, 2012
Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic
America's Promise Alliance
Read More (PDF)

February 4, 2012
Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City's Small Public High Schools of Choice
mdrc
Read More

January 28, 2012
American Graduate: Series of articles examining the dropout crisis
WAMU 88.5
Read More

January 31, 2012
New Analysis Reveals CMO Impacts On High School Graduation, College Enrollment
Mathematica Policy Research
Read More

December 14, 2011
Building a Grad Nation: 2010-11 Annual Update
Everyone Graduates Center
Read More

December 4, 2011
Characteristics of GED Recipients in High School: 2002–06
NCES
Read More

October 14, 2011
Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2009
NCES
Read More

October 14, 2011
Dropout Prevention Services and Programs in Public School Districts: 2010–11
NCES
Read More

August 2011
Policy Brief: Design Matters Incentives for Early Graduation, How Can State Policies Encourage Students to Complete High School in Less than Four Years?
Jobs for the Future
Read More (PDF)

June 2011
America's High School Graduates: Results of the 2009 NAEP High School Transcript Study
IES National Center for Education Statistics
Read More

June 2011
Diplomas Count 2011: Beyond High School, Before Baccalaureate: Meaningful Alternatives to a Four-Year Degree
Education Week
Read more

April 2011
Building a Grad Nation: 2010-2011 Update
Everyone Graduates Center
Read more

April 2011
Education And The Economy: Boosting State And National Economies By Improving High School Graduation Rates
Alliance for Excellent Education
Read more

March 2011
Five-Year National Evaluation Summary Report
Communities in Schools
Read more

December, 2010
Accountability and Performance in Secondary Education in Milwaukee Public Schools
The Council of the Great City Schools
Read more

December, 2010
Intervention: Service and Conservation Corps
IES, What Works Clearinghouse
Read more

September, 2010
Reinventing Alternative Education: An Assessment of Current State Policy and How to Improve It
Jobs for the Future
Read more

September, 2010
Six Pillars of Effective Dropout Prevention and Recovery: An Assessment of Current State Policy and How to Improve It
Jobs for the Future
Read more

September, 2010
Transforming the High School Experience: How New York City's New Small Schools Are Boosting Student Achievement and Graduation Rates
MDRC
Read more

July, 2010
The Economic Benefits of Reducing the Dropout Rate Among Students of Color in the Nation's Largest Metropolitan Areas
Alliance for Excellent Education
Read more

June, 2010
Help Wanted: Projections of Job and Education Requirements Through 2018
Center on Education and the Workforce
Read more

June, 2010
The GED
National Bureau of Economic Research
Read more

June, 2010
Diplomas Count 2010
Education Week
Read more

June, 2010
Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007-08
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

May, 2010
Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED
Pew Hispanic Center
Read more

May, 2010
College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2009 High School Graduates
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Read more

April, 2010
Alternative Schools and Programs for Public School Students At Risk of Educational Failure: 2007-08
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

March, 2010
Raising Their Voices: Engaging students, teachers, and parents to help end the High School Dropout Epidemic
Civic Enterprises
Read more

February, 2010
Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers
Child Trends
Read more

January, 2010
The Economic Benefits from Halving the Dropout Rate: A Boom to Businesses in the Nation's Largest Metropolitan Area
Alliance for Excellent Education
Read more

November, 2009
Success at Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond
America Youth Policy Forum
Read more

November, 2009
The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School
Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University
Read more

September, 2009
Effects of the California High School Exit Exam on Student Persistence, Achievement, and Graduation (Policy Brief)
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
Read more

August, 2009
Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation
National Women's Law Center
Read more

June, 2009
Late High School Dropouts: Characteristics, Experiences, and Changes Across Cohorts
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

June, 2009
Graduating America: Meeting the Challenge of Low Graduation Rate High Schools
Jobs for the Future
Read more

June, 2009
What Works? Targeted Truancy and Dropout Programs in Middle and High School
Washington State Institute for Public Policy
Read more

June, 2009
Diplomas Count 2009
Education Week
Read more

April, 2009
Effects of the California High School Exit Exam on Student Persistence, Achievement, and Graduation
IREPP, Stanford University
Read more

February, 2009
Reengaging High School Dropouts: Early Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Evaluation
MDRC
Read more

February, 2009
Grad Nation: A Guidebook to Help Communities Tackle The Dropout Crisis
America's Promise Alliance
Read more

February, 2009
Course Credit Accrual and Dropping Out of High School, by Student Characteristics
IES / NCES
Read more

January, 2009
Chasing the High School Graduation Rate: Getting the Data We Need and Using It Right
Educational Testing Service/Policy Information Center
Read more

November, 2008
Student Led Solutions to the Dropout Crisis: A Report by Voices of Youth in Chicago Education
Voices of Youth in Chicago Education
Read more

November 12, 2008
Counting on Graduation
The Education Trust
Read more

October, 2008
Relationships, Rigor, and Readiness Strategies for Improving High Schools
MDRC
Read more

September 8, 2008
IES Practice Guide: Dropout Prevention
What Works Clearinghouse
Read more

September 8, 2008
Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2006
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

August 19, 2008
Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

August 13, 2008
State High School Exit Exams: Moving Toward End-of-Course Exams
Center on Education Policy (CEP) Read more

August 11, 2008
The Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District
Regional Educational Laboratory Program
Read more

July 30, 2008
Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2008
NGA Center for Best Practices
Read more

June 2008
Predicting Success, Preventing Failure: An Investigation of the California High School Exit Exam
Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Read more

April 2008
Alternative Education Options: A Descriptive Study of California Continuation High Schools
John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities
Read more

March 2008
State High School Exit Exams: Students with Disabilities -- Policy Brief 3
Center on Education Policy
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February 2008
State High School Exit Exams: Patterns in Gaps in Pass Rates -- Policy Brief 2
Center on Education Policy
Read more

January 2008
State High School Exit Exams: A Move Toward End-of-Course Exams -- Policy Brief 1
Center on Education Policy
Read more

January 2008
Teacher Quality and Dropout Outcomes in a Large, Urban School District
National Center on Performance Incentives
Read more

December 2007
The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels*
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Read more
*Free copies may only be accessible via library web sites with paid subscriptions.

December 2007
Numbers and Rates of Public High School Dropouts: School Year 2004-05
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Read more

December 2007
Caught in the Middle: Arizona's English Language Learners and the High School Exit Exam
Center on Education Policy
Read more A portrait of how some Arizona educators, students, and families are faring with the state exit exam, known as Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards or AIMS.

October 2007
The High Cost of Low Graduation Rates in North Carolina
Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation
This study examines the public costs of North Carolina's high dropout rate, and calculates the reduction in costs that would follow from raising public school graduation rates through a modest school choice program.
Read more

October 2007
When Girls Don't Graduate, We All Fail: A Call to Improve High School Graduation Rates for Girls
National Women's Law Center (NWLC)
This report finds that American girls are dropping out of high school at nearly the same rate as boys, and at even greater economic cost. Female dropouts earn significantly lower wages than male dropouts, are at greater risk of unemployment, and are more likely to rely on public support programs.
Read more

October 2007
The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Low-achieving students in many school districts are retained in a grade in order to allow them to gain the academic or social skills that teachers believe are necessary to succeed academically. This practice is highly controversial, with many researchers claiming that it leads to higher dropout rates although selection issues have complicated previous analyses. In this paper, we use a regression discontinuity design to examine the impact of grade retention on high school completion. We find that grade retention leads to a modest increase in the probability of dropping out for older students, but has no significant effect on younger students.
Read more

September 2007
High School Dropouts in America
Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE)
Over a million of the students who enter ninth grade each fall fail to graduate with their peers four years later. In fact, about seven thousand students drop out every school day. Perhaps this statistic was acceptable fifty years ago, but the era in which a high school dropout could earn a living wage has ended in the United States. Dropouts significantly diminish their chances to secure a good job and a promising future. Moreover, not only do the individuals themselves suffer, but each class of dropouts is responsible for substantial financial and social costs to the communities, states, and country in which they live.
Read more

August 2007
State Approaches to More Reliable and Uniform Dropout and Graduation Data
National High School Center
This issue brief outlines the immediate need for more accurate dropout and graduation data, while providing a snapshot of work currently underway. By drawing on two prominent methods for calculating graduation rates: the National Governors Association's endorsed longitudinal approach and the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), this brief outlines how data are needed to track dropout trends and patterns, as well as how to direct resources and more effective strategies to ensure more students receive a high school diploma. This brief concludes by offering take-aways for states.
Read more

August 2007
Graduation Matters: Improving Accountability for High School Graduation
The Education Trust
Despite the national focus on reforming America's high schools, most states are setting woefully low goals for improving graduation rates and are not setting goals for ensuring that more low-income, minority, disabled and English language learner students graduate. This report, released by The Education Trust, documents state-set goals for graduation rates under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, showing how improvement targets are often so low that they undercut the aim of significantly raising graduation rates.
Read more

July 2007
What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools
Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)
Almost half of all Chicago Public School students fail to graduate, and in some CPS high schools more students drop out than graduate. It is a problem that can sometimes feel overwhelming to address because the causes of dropout are myriad and complex. What is often lost in discussions about dropping out is the one factor that is most directly related to graduation-students' performance in their courses. In this research report, CCSR authors Elaine Allensworth and John Q. Easton look into the elements of course performance that predict whether students will graduate and suggest what schools and families can do to keep more teens in school.
Read more

July 2007
Understanding High School Graduation Rates
Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE)
Graduation rates are a fundamental indicator of whether or not the nation's public school system is doing what it is intended to do: enroll, engage, and educate youth to be productive members of society. In today's increasingly competitive global economy, graduating high school is a critical step towards securing a good job and a promising future. The failure to graduate every child prepared for the 21st century has serious consequences for both individual students and the rest of American society. Yet, the unacceptably low graduation rates of America's youth have been obscured for far too long by inaccurate data, misleading calculations and reporting, and flawed accountability systems. Nationally, and for each state, Understanding High School Graduation Rates illustrates the discrepancies in graduation rates reported by government and independent sources, examines why this is important, and describes core policy areas that are fundamental to calculating, reporting, and improving accurate graduation rates.
Read more

June 2007
Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
This report builds upon a series of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. It presents estimates of rates for 2005, and provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three decades (1972-2005), including characteristics of dropouts and completers in these years. Among other findings, the report shows that in students living in low-income families were approximately six times more likely to drop out of high school between 2004 and 2005 than of their peers from high-income families.
Read more

May 2007
Dropout Risk Factors and Exemplary Programs: A Technical Report
Nat'l Dropout Prevention Center/Network
Study finds there are multiple risk factors which increase the likelihood that students will drop out. The evidence clearly shows that dropout is always the result of a long process of disengagement that sometimes begins before the child enrolls in kindergarten. The report also provides information on 50 programs that were found to be effective in addressing these risk factors. Read more

May 2007
Dropout Prevention for Students With Disabilities: A Critical Issue for State Education Agencies
National High School Center
This issue brief provides guidance to states as they respond to requirements presented in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) in the area of dropout prevention for students with disabilities. It also highlights the role of State Performance Plans as starting points for states to develop data collection and monitoring procedures, and supplies states with considerations and recommendations for providing a consistent method of tracking dropout data.
Read more

May 2007
Event Dropout Rates for Public School Students in Grades 9-12: 2002-03 and 2003-04
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The report summarizes and compares event dropout rates for public high school students, by state, for 2002-03 and 2003-04. Among reporting states in 2003-04, the rates ranged from a low of 1.8 percent in Connecticut and New Jersey to a high of 7.9 percent in Louisiana. The event dropout rate measures the percentage of high school students who drop out in a given year. A dropout is a student who was enrolled at the beginning of the year, not enrolled at the beginning of the next year, and who did not graduate from high school or complete some other district- or state-approved educational program.
Read more

April 2007
Course Credit Accrual and Dropping Out of High School
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
In this Issue Brief, differences in the average number of course credits earned between high school graduates and dropouts, both within and accumulated across academic years, are examined in order to describe enrollment and completion behavior of high school graduates and dropouts. Differences in course credit accrual by selected subjects (English, mathematics, and science) are also reported.
Read more

March 2007
"It's Different Now": How Exit Exams Are Affecting Teaching and Learning in Jackson and Austin
Center on Education Policy
With 25 states now implementing or phasing in exit examinations—tests students must pass in order to receive a high school diploma—many policymakers, educators, and parents are wondering how these exams are affecting schools and students. To learn more about these effects, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) examined the implementation of high school exit exams in 2006 in two school districts: the Jackson Public Schools (JPS) in Mississippi and the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in Texas. Our work in these two districts is part of a comprehensive national study of exit exams that CEP has been conducting since 2002.
Read more

February 2007
The High Cost of Failing to Reform Public Education in Texas
Friedman Foundation
Research has documented a crisis in Texas high school graduation rates. Only 67 percent of Texas students graduate from high school, and some large urban districts have graduation rates of 50 percent or lower. This study documents the public costs of high school dropouts in Texas and examines how school choice could provide large public benefits by increasing graduation rates in Texas public schools. It calculates the annual cost of high school dropouts in Texas caused by reduced tax revenue, increased Medicaid costs and increased incarceration costs. It then examines how competition from private schools already raises public school graduation rates and calculates the dollar value of the public benefits that would follow from increasing Texas's public school graduation rates by enacting even a modest school choice program.
Read more

January 2007
The Costs and Benefits of an Excellent Education for All of America's Children
Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University
Broad policy decisions in education can be framed around a simple question: Do the benefits to society of investing in an educational strategy outweigh the costs? We provide an answer for those individuals who currently fail to graduate from high school. The present cohort of 20-year olds in the US today includes over 700,000 high school dropouts, many from disadvantaged backgrounds. We investigate the economic consequences of improving their education. First, we identify five leading interventions that have been shown to raise high school graduation rates; and we calculate their costs and their effectiveness. Second, we add up the lifetime public benefits of high school graduation. These include higher tax revenues as well as lower government spending on health, crime, and welfare. (We do not include private benefits such as higher earnings). Next, we compare the costs of the interventions to the public benefits.
Read more

January 2007
The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools
Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE)
Every school day, seven thousand students become dropouts. Annually, that adds up to about 1.2 million students who will not graduate high school with their peers as scheduled. Lacking a high school diploma, these individuals will be far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system.
Read more

December 2006
Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries
NBER
School quality and grade completion by students are shown to be directly linked, leading to very different perspectives on educational policy in developing countries. Unique panel data on primary school age children in Egypt permit estimation of behavioral models of school leaving. Students perceive differences in school quality, measured as expected achievement improvements in a given school, and act on it. Specifically, holding constant the student's own ability and achievement, a student is much less likely to remain in school if attending a low quality school rather than a high quality school. This individually rationale behavior suggests that common arguments about a trade-off between quality and access to schools may misstate the real issue and lead to public investment in too little quality. Further, because of this behavioral linkage, there is an achievement bias such that common estimates of rates of return to years of school will be overstated. The paper demon strates the analytical importance of employing output-based measures of school quality.
Read more

November 2006
Addressing America's Dropout Challenge
The Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress and Jobs for the Future have released a report showing that although high school graduation rates are far lower than previously understood, federal action now can significantly close the graduation gap within the next five years. Despite several decades of intensive efforts to improve educational outcomes, the U.S. graduation rate has not reached above 70 percent in decades, and some states appear to be losing ground. On-time graduation rates hover between only 50 percent and 55 percent for African Americans and Hispanic young people. The economic and social consequences of not completing high school are steadily intensifying. Dropouts today are twice as likely to be unemployed, and for those who work, pay is low, advancement is limited, and health insurance is less available. The dropout problem no longer can be ignored. The United States' global competitiveness and the economic self-sufficiency of our citizens is at stake. We need all of our youth to succeed and advance. It is time for an aggressive national effort to pursue a new, dual agenda for high school reform?one that embraces high standards and high graduation rates.
Read more

November 2006
Dropout Rates in the United States: 2004
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
This report builds upon a series of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. It presents estimates of rates for 2004, and provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three decades (1972-2004), including characteristics of dropouts and completers in these years. Among other findings, the report shows that in students living in low-income families were approximately four times more likely to drop out of high school between 2003 and 2004 than were their peers from high-income families. Focusing on indicators of on-time graduation from public high schools, the averaged freshman graduation rate for the 3 most recent years for which data are available shows an increase from 72.6 percent for 2001-02 to 73.9 percent for 2002-03 to 74.3 percent for 2003-04.
Read more

November 2006
Emerging Evidence on Improving High School Student Achievement and Graduation Rates: The Effects of Four Popular Improvement Programs
National High School Center
The National High School Center released methods for improving low-performing high schools based on some of the most rigorous research currently available in the school reform arena. This research brief identifies lessons learned as well as key practices used to strengthen high schools and is based on evaluations of four widely used high school improvement programs - Career Academies, First Things First, Project GRAD, and Talent Development.
Read more

October 2006
Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis in Texas
Civil Rights Project
The most accurate method for tracking high school graduation rates is to provide each student with a single lifetime school identification number that would follow him or her throughout his or her entire school career. Texas has this system in place, but this report demonstrates that the official rates Texas has historically reported dramatically inflated graduation rates and other extended year measures of high school completion as much or more than most states lacking this capacity.
Read more

October 2006
Economic Outcomes of High School Completers and Noncompleters 8 Years Later
NCES
This Issue Brief uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to compare the economic outcomes of high school completers at three different points in time with the outcomes of individuals who did not complete high school. Differences by sex and the type of credential earned are also examined. The findings suggest that individuals who completed high school within 6 years generally had more favorable economic outcomes than their counterparts who completed high school later or not at all. However, differences in economic outcomes were most prominent between males and females even after controlling for the timing and type of high school credential earned.
Read more

October 2006
Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-2005
Project U-Turn
This report uses a unique set of data obtained from the Kids Integrated Data System (KIDS), which is housed at the University of Pennsylvania]s Cartographic Modeling Laboratory. The KIDS system merges individual-level data on young people from the School District of Philadelphia and the city's social service agencies, including the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Office of Emergency Shelter and Services. The resulting de-identified data allow us to follow cohorts of students over multiple years, examining their educational outcomes as well as the predictors of graduation and dropout.
Read more

September 2006
America's Civic Health Index: Broken Engagement
The National Conference on Citizenship (a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress)
The principal findings of this report are based on 40 indicators of civic health organized into 9 categories. The survey information is nationally representative of the population as a whole and is complete through 2004 (with information from 2005, where available, included). While there are some signs of civic recovery in the last few years, our civic health shows steep declines over the last 30 years. In fact, a closer look shows a large and growing civic divide between those with a college education and those without one, with a particularly substantial civic gap between college graduates and high school dropouts. And while political activities seem to be rising, there is a growing and troubling contrast between such political engagement on the one hand and growing distrust of strangers and key American institutions on the other. As many Americans suspect, our politics have become both more engaging and more divisive.
Read more

August 2006
Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date
National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices
In 2005 governors of all 50 states signed the Graduation Counts Compact and made an unprecedented commitment to a common method for calculating each state's high school graduation rate. In addition to agreeing to a common formula for calculating the graduation rate, the governors committed to leading efforts to improve state data collection, reporting, and analysis; reporting additional indicators of outcomes for students; and reporting annually on their progress toward improved high school To fulfill the final element of the Graduation Counts Compact--reporting progress annually--the NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) gathered information from governors' offices and state education agencies about their plans and actions to implement the Compact graduation rate.graduation, completion, and dropout data.
Read more

August 2006
Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation
Alliance for Excellent Education
Americans are beginning to recognize that many of the nation's high schools are in crisis, as policymakers, business leaders, and celebrities call attention to the country's low graduation rates. But the dropout problem, although severe, is only one indicator of the trouble plaguing the country's secondary schools. Because too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school, the nation loses more than $3.7 billion a year. This figure includes $1.4 billion to provide remedial education to students who have recently completed high school. In addition, this figure factors in the almost $2.3 billion that the economy loses because remedial reading students are more likely to drop out of college without a degree, thereby reducing their earning potential.
Read more

August 2006
State High School Exit Exams: A Challenging Year
Center on Education Policy
School year 2005-06 was a time of serious challenges to state exit examinations--tests students must pass to receive a high school diploma. In California and Arizona--two states that were withholding diplomas from high school seniors for the first time based on exam performance--courts weighed the constitutionality and fairness of exit exams, as thousands of high school seniors waited to see if they would graduate with the rest of their class. California students at risk of not graduating breathed a sigh of relief when a superior court overturned the exit exam requirement, only to see it reinstated by the state Supreme Court two weeks later. In several states, policymakers debated whether to stick to their plans to withhold diplomas from students who failed exit exams, whether to exempt students with disabilities or students learning English from having to pass the exams, or whether to create or expand alternate paths to graduation for students struggling to pass the exams.
Read more

August 2006
User's Guide to Computing High School Graduation Rates, Volume 1: Review of Current and Proposed Graduation Indicators
NCES
The first volume of this report examines the existing measures of high school completion and the newly proposed proxy measures. This includes a description of the computational formulas, the data required for each indicator, the assumptions underlying each formula, the strengths and weaknesses of each indicator relative to a true cohort on-time graduation rate, and a consideration of the conditions under which each indicator does or does not work. The second volume of this report provides documentation of the technical work that the Department leadership used to select an interim graduation rate. The analysis in volume 2 draws upon the student record data from two states to compute the true cohort on-time graduation rate for each of those states, to compute the proxy graduation measures for each of these states, and to compare the performance of each proxy indicator to that of the true cohort rate. The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) indicator is the only measure that is consistently among the best performing indicators in each analysis.
Read more

August 2006
User's Guide to Computing High School Graduation Rates, Volume 2: Technical Evaluation of Proxy Graduation Indicators
NCES
Read more

 

June 2006
A Look at the Hidden Costs of High School Exit Exams
Center on Education Policy
This policy brief is designed to provide information to policymakers and education stakeholders engaged in conversations about the costs of high school exit exam policies at the state and district levels. It provides a brief definition of exit exams, presents a breakdown of both apparent and hidden costs associated with these exams, details other cost considerations as suggested by policymakers and education stakeholders interviewed for this brief, provides a checklist of cost-related issues that must be considered before states adopt exit exam policies, and concludes with policy recommendations aimed at addressing cost and sustainability concerns related to exit exam policies.
Read more

June 2006
The Condition of Education: 2006
NCES
The Condition of Education 2006 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 50 indicators on the status and condition of education and a special analysis on international assessments. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2006 print edition includes 50 indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education.
Read more (See also: The Condition of Education: 2005)

June 2006
Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Policy and Rates
Education Week (Vol. 25, Issue 41S)
Provides detailed data on graduation rates across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and in the nation's 50 largest school districts. The analysis is based on the Cumulative Promotion Index. The report also tracks state policies related to high school graduation requirements. Along with a wealth of statistical information, Diplomas Count features closer looks at why high school graduation matters, states' wide differences in measuring graduation rates, the factors that predict whether a student is likely to drop out, the worth of the General Educational Development credential, and research-backed ways for educators to help more students stay in school and earn diplomas.
Read more

June 2006
Identifying Potential Dropouts: Key Lessons for Building an Early Warning Data System
Achieve, Inc.
This white paper was prepared for Staying the Course: High Standards and Improved Graduation Rates, a joint project of Achieve and JFF funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York. Its goal is to provide policymakers with an overview of research about the dropout problem and the best strategies for building an early warning data system that can signal which students and schools are most in need of interventions.
Read more

June 2006
Who's Counted? Who's Counting? Understanding High School Graduation Rates
Alliance For Excellent Education
This report explains the reasons why so many different graduation rate formulas and statistics exist, addresses why states report them differently, discusses the limitations and benefits of each method, and - most importantly - defines the policy changes needed to assure that educators, school officials, parents, and the public receive timely and accurate information about how many students are actually graduating so that they can assess their schools' current effectiveness and make improvements.
Read more

May 2006
Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
State requirements that high school graduates pass exit exams were the leading edge of the movement towards standards-based reform and continue to be adopted and refined by states today. In this study, we present new empirical evidence on how exit exams influenced educational attainment and labor market experiences using data from the 2000 Census and the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data (CCD). Our results suggest that the effects of these reforms have been heterogeneous. For example, our analysis of the Census data suggests that exit exams significantly reduced the probability of completing high school, particularly for black students.
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May 2006
How Black and Hispanic Families Rate Their Schools
Public Agenda (Reality Check 2006, Issue No. 2)
It's not the kind of atmosphere most adults would find helpful if they needed to study and learn - high dropout rates, kids promoted without learning, schools short on money, profanity and disrespect, fighting, drug and alcohol abuse. Yet these are "very serious" problems in schools, according to surprisingly large numbers of the nation's black and Hispanic students. These results are from Public Agenda's 2006 Reality Check surveys of parents, students, teachers and administrators nationwide.
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May 2006
Too Big To Be Seen: The Invisible Dropout Crisis in Boston and America
Boston Youth Transitions Task Force
In 2004, Mayor Thomas M. Menino challenged the leaders of 18 community organizations and government agencies to put Boston at the forefront of a national effort to address a situation that remains invisible to most Americans. He asked these leaders to tackle the dropout crisis - an issue that has become too big to be seen. With support from national foundations, this team came together to form the Boston Youth Transitions Task Force. Its purpose is to assess, document and address the issue in a strategic way. This report details the most pertinent quantitative data and qualitative research generated by the project, offers an analysis of existing resources and programs, and frames the challenges for the year ahead. It also invites readers to consider the ways that they might engage in the coming years' efforts.
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April 2006
Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
This study calculates public high school graduation rates for the nation, for each state, and for the 100 largest school districts in the United States. They calculate graduation rates overall, by race, and by gender, using the most recent available data (the class of 2003).
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April 2006
Making Good on a Promise: What Policymakers Can Do to Support the Educational Persistence of Dropouts
Jobs for the Future (JFF)
This report provides a detailed look at who dropped out and how much education they had completed by their early adulthood. It analyzes data from the first major national study to follow a representative group of young people over time: the National Educational Longitudinal Study, which tracked the educational progress of approximately 25,000 eighth-graders in 1988 over 12 years, to 2000.
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April 2006
Rethinking High School Graduation Rates and Trends
Economic Policy Institute
This report analyzes the current sources of available data on high school completion and dropout rates and finds that, while graduation rates need much improvement, they are higher, and getting better.
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March 2006
The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts
Civic Enterprises
The central message of this report is that while some students drop out because of significant academic challenges, most dropouts are students who could have, and believe they could have, succeeded in school. This survey of young people who left high school without graduating suggests that, despite career aspirations that require education beyond high school and a majority having grades of a C or better, circumstances in students' lives and an inadequate response to those circumstances from the schools led to dropping out.
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February 2006
Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Using three sources of data, this paper examines the direct economic return to GED certification for both native and immigrant high school dropouts. One data source -- the CPS -- is plagued by non-response and allocation bias from the hot-deck procedure that biases upward the estimated return to the GED. Correcting for allocation bias and ability bias, there is no direct economic return to GED certification. An apparent return to GED certification with age found in the raw CPS data is due to dropouts becoming more skilled over time. These results apply to native born as well as immigrant populations.
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August 2005
State High School Exit Exams: States Try Harder, But Gaps Persist
Center on Education Policy
This is the fourth annual report on state exit exams produced by the Center on Education Policy.
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June 2005
Getting Honest About Grad Rates: How States Play the Numbers and Students Lose
The Education Trust
This Education Trust report highlights the inaccurate and unreliable way states calculate and report high school graduation rates and also rebukes the U.S. Department of Education for failing to exert leadership by demanding that states get honest about their graduation statistics.
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June 2005
The On-Track Indicator as a Predictor of High School Graduation
Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)
This indicator identifies students as on-track if they earn at least five full-year course credits and no more than one semester F in a core course in their first year of high school. On-track students are more than three and one-half times more likely to graduate from high school in four years than off-track students. The indicator is a more accurate predictor of graduation than students' previous achievement test scores or their background characteristics.
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June 2005
Who Graduates in the South?
Urban Institute
Graduation rates for the high school class of 2002 show that less than 65 percent of all students attending public schools in the South complete high school with a regular diploma. This level falls below the national average of close to 70 percent. Findings also show very large disparities between students from different racial and ethnic groups. A graduation gap of about 27 percentage points separates the highest- and the lowest-performing groups. Historically disadvantaged minority groups in the South have graduation rates that range from 55 to 58 percent.
Fewer than 60 percent of all students graduate from high school in central city districts and in communities that suffer from high levels of racial and socioeconomic segregation.
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March 2005
Who Graduates in California?
Urban Institute
Graduation rates for the high school class of 2002 show that 71 percent of all students in California's public education system complete high school with a diploma. This level falls slightly above the national average. However, we also find very large disparities between students from different racial-ethnic groups. A graduation gap of over 30 percentage points separates the highest-and the lowest-performing groups. Historically disadvantaged minorities have graduation rates between 50 and 60 percent. Fewer than two-thirds of allstudents graduate from high school in central city districts and in communities that suffer from high levels of racial and socioeconomic segregation.
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2005
One-Third of a Nation: Rising Dropout Rates and Declining Opportunities
Paul Barton, ETS Policy Evaluation and Research Center
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December 2004
Graduation Rates: Real Kids, Real Numbers
Urban Institute
This article attempts to provide some practical insight into NCLB and its implications for graduation rates and to highlight some issues of particular relevance to school administrators. I also hope that this piece will point to areas where local school leaders may take increasing ownership of the search to find solutions for the high school completion crisis.
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December 2004
High School Graduation, Completion, and Dropout (GCD) Indicators: A Primer and Catalog
Urban Institute
The purpose of this catalog is to provide a basic inventory of the various methods for estimating high school graduation, completion, and dropout (GCD) rates that are currently being used by federal governmental agencies and state education agencies (SEAs). In the inventory, we identify and explicate over 70 distinctive GCD indicators. We believe that this catalog serves to effectively document a considerable amount of the variability in contemporary approaches to measuring high school outcomes.
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September 2004
After exit: Academic achievement patterns of former English language learners
Arizona State University, Education Policy Analysis Archives (Vol. 12, No. 50)
This study examined achievement patterns in English language arts, Math, and Science of former ELLs who attended a bilingual and a English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
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August 2004
State High School Exit Exams: A Maturing Reform
Center on Education Policy
s part of a multi-year study of state high school exit exams, the Center on Education Policy has published the third in a series of annual reports on the subject. This report updates and expands the first two years' findings and includes original research. Major findings include increased stability of exit exam policies, new evidence of positive and negative impacts of these exams, and the difficulty of using these exams for multiple purposes such to indicate college readiness or to meet the accountability provisions of NCLB. The report documents the low pass rate on these exams among English learners.
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February 2004
Losing Our Future: How Minority Youth are Being Left Behind by the Graduation Rate Crisis
Civil Rights Project
Every year, across the country, a dangerously high percentage of students-disproportionately poor and minority-disappear from the educational pipeline before graduating from high school. Nationally, only about 68 percent of all students who enter 9th grade will graduate "on time" with regular diplomas in 12th grade. While the graduation rate for white students is 75 percent, only approximately half of Black, Hispanic , and Native American students earn regular diplomas alongside their classmates. Graduation rates are even lower for minority males. Yet, because of misleading and inaccurate reporting of dropout and graduation rates, the public remains largely unaware of this educational and civil rights crisis.
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February 2004
Who Graduates? Who Doesn't? A Statistical Portrait of Public High School Graduation, Class of 2001
Urban Institute
This study, the latest in a series of investigations conducted by the Urban Institute, contributes to the growing body of knowledge in this field of inquiry by providing the most extensive set of systematic empirical findings on public school graduation rates in the United States available to date. Detailed descriptive statistics and analytic results are presented for the nation as a whole, by geographical region, and for each of the states. This study also offers an exceptionally detailed perspective on the issue of high school completion by examining graduation rates for the overall student population, for specific racial and ethnic groups, and by gender. We also analyze graduation rate patterns for particular types of school districts, with special attention to the systems in which the nation's most socioeconomically disadvantaged students are educated.
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December 2003
Telling the Whole Truth (or Not) About High School Graduation: New State Data
The Education Trust
This report highlights the need for states to better report their high school graduation data. Ultimately, this data should result in greater awareness of how many students, particularly low-income and minority students, make it through high school. A state-by-state analysis of graduation rates in all 50 states demonstrates that while some states seem to have seized this opportunity to provide an honest picture of high school graduation among their young people, many other states were lax in reporting complete and useful data.
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April 2002
Academic Disidentification, Race, and High School Dropouts
Georgia Southern University, The High School Journal, 85.4 (2002) 71-81
The present study was conducted to learn whether Black and Hispanic students, when compared to Asian and White students, show further evidence of disidentification from academics when deciding to withdraw from school.
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February 2002
School Dropouts: Education Could Play a Stronger Role in Identifying and Disseminating Promising Prevention Strategies
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the national status dropout rate--the percentage of 16- through 24-year olds who are not enrolled in school and who lack a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate--fluctuated between 10.9 and 12.5 percent between 1990 and 2000. However, dropout rates have varied considerably between regions of the country and among ethnic groups.
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January 2002
¿Exito en California? A Validity Critique of Language Program Evaluations and Analysis of English Learner Test Scores
Arizona State University, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 10, No. 7
Several states have recently faced ballot initiatives that propose to functionally eliminate bilingual education in favor of English-only approaches. Proponents of these initiatives have argued an overall rise in standardized achievement scores of California's limited English proficient (LEP) students is largely due to the implementation of English immersion programs mandated by Proposition 227 in 1998, hence, thay claim Exito en California (Success in California).
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