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Research,  July 13, 2009

High-risk indicators in middle school for dropping out

"In a new study from Johns Hopkins University, researchers pinpoint the time in middle school when students can be seen to have 'fallen off the path to high school graduation.' The study sought high-yield indicators that identified students who, absent intervention, would have low odds of graduating and identified at least 25 percent of future non-graduates or dropouts. The report found that sixth graders who failed math or English/reading, or attended school less than 80 percent of the time, or received an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course, had a 10- to 20-percent chance of graduating on time. The brief looked at 23 middle schools in Philadelphia with students at least 80 percent minority and at least 80 percent qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch. The study found middle-grade experiences 'have tremendous impact on the extent to which [students] will close achievement gaps, graduate from high school, and be prepared for college,' the authors write. The fifth through eighth grades must therefore be reconceptualized, considered 'the launching pad for a secondary and post-secondary education system that enables all students to obtain the schooling and/or career training they will need to fully experience the opportunities of 21st century America.'"

URL: http://www.nmsa.org/portals/0/pdf/research/Research_from_the_Field/Policy_Brief_Balfanz.pdf
Referred by: PEN Weekly NewsBlast
Posted by wrivenburgh on July 13, 2009 | Research
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