Changing context of high p p school dropout and completion Amy Reschly, Ph.D. y g University of Georgia Agenda State of the field Changing context Initiatives and reforms – unintended consequences Predictors of dropout and completion Student engagement & intervention Why are we focused on school completion? Dropout “something of a national obsession” (Finn, 1989) National Education Goals NCLB (IDEIA) Accountability and Outcomes High Stakes for Students Schools and Districts Society Reschly & Christenson, 2006 Other Headlines… nation’s the first time in our nation s history, students are less likely to graduate than their parents (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/23/national/main45 40713.shtml 40713 h l some states are preparing for lower post-secondary attendance due to high dropout rates (Hughes, 2008) p the upside to the economic downturn of 2008/2009 was that dropouts are dropping back in (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30283579). In Georgia g “State’s High School Graduation Rates in ‘Crisis’” – bottom 5 along with Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina http://www.ajc.com/news/states-high-school-graduation-rate-in-crisis-98075.html Dropout C i i I a S D id Problem Crisis Is Statewide P bl http://www.ajc.com/opinion/dropout-crisis-is-statewide-118709.html State Systems t t k students fl St t S t d to track t d t flawed http://www.ajc.com/news/state-system-to-track-147512.html $16 7 Cost of 2009 Georgia dropouts: $16.7 billion by one estimate http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2009/09/01/cost-of-2009-georgia-dropouts-167-billion-by- one-estimate/ High Stakes Students more likely to live in poverty, be dependent on welfare and other government assistance programs, have health problems, engage in criminal behavior and be incarcerated, and i l d l experience unemployment or underemployment Christenson et al., 2001 Changing Context High Stakes…. Schools and Districts Indicator of school effectiveness I di f h l ff i No Child Left Behind Society Rouse (2005) estimated th t each dropout, over the course of their R ti t d that hd t th f th i lifetime, will cost the nation approximately $260,000 It is estimated that each year of dropouts costs the United States more than $250 billion during their lifetimes in lost earnings and taxes Our future Many examples of policy reports, white papers that illustrate this concern Perfect Storm, Sil t Epidemic ETS A P f t St Silent E id i Job opportunities for those without a high school education disappearing; Importance of post-secondary education increasing; competing in technological, global economy Preventing Dropout or Promoting Completion? Important distinction Increasing the successful completion of school is much more than simply staying in school, and thus, much more than the py y g dropout problem – it involves meeting the defined academic standards of the school, as well as underlying social and behavioral standards. Focus must be on ensuring completion with competence Christenson et al., 2001; Reschly & Christenson, 2006; Reschly, Appleton, & Christenson, 2009 Trends and Unintended Consequences? Grade Retention and NCLB Retention vs. social promotion debate (neither option ideal) ) At a minimum, ineffective and expensive as an intervention, many studies find negative effects Connection to special education, dropout Increasing retentions & AYP for high school graduation? i i High stakes assessments and graduation tests Achievement and ensuring completion with competence through HSGTs One study in TX found that the accountability system increased dropout rates == giving the appearance of improved achievement and closing the white-minority achievement gap, schools earned higher ratings (McNeil, McSpadden, Coppola, & Helig, 2008) y p g Tests may have a differential effect on dropout among those from poor, minority backgrounds (Borg, Plumlee, Stranahan, 2007) Prevention and early intervention, provide support for meeting standards Initiatives to Raise the Compulsory School g ( Attendance Age (CSAA) ) A number of states have raised or are considering this changeg But, expensive to enforce; following students and defining dropout still an issue in many states; does not address reasons why students want to p pp leave school or provide support to meet standards;; little evidence for efficacy Landis & Reschly, 2009 Using a national dataset and 3 years of data we i d fd d l i b examined rates of dropout and completion by CSAA and CSAA/region; Also looked at laws individual states that recently changed CSA laws. Findings CSAA had a small relationship with the timing of dropout but no meaningful relationship with high school graduation. Also, no discernable pattern of reductions in dropout rates was evident for states that raised their attendance ages g Landis & Reschly, 2009 Statistics Types, National and regional differences Different types of statistics Event, Status, Cohort Recently, Recently Average Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) Factors that affect statistics report Grade levels included in the report, how students who drop out in the summer are counted, which groups of students included, etc. Wolman, Bruiniks, & Thurlow, 1989 Dropout/Completion Statistics Event: Approx. 4 out of every 100 students who were enrolled in high school in Oct 2004 left school prior to October 2005 y Status: 3.5 million 18-24 year olds not enrolled in hs and had not earned a diploma or GED. 9.4% of 16 to 24 year olds in the U.S. in 2005 The national cohort freshman graduation rate for public school students in 2003-04 was 75% (Laird t l (L i d et al., 2007) Laird et al., 2008. NCES Statistics Who drops out of school? National Dropout and Completion Rates Dropout Completion Asian/Pacific 3.8% 94.6% Islander White, Non-Hispanic 6.9% 91.8% Black 13.1% 13 1% 83.7% 83 7% Hispanic 27.8% 64.1% NCES In 2006, students from low-income families had an event dropout rate 4 ½ times greater than the event rate of students from high income families (Laird t l 2008). (L i d et al., 2008) The status dropout and completion rates, respectively, among Hispanics 16-24 years of age are 22.1% and 70.9%, followed by Black (10.7%, 84.8%), White (5.8%, 92.6%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (3.6%, 95.8%; Laird et al., 2008). Between 1979 and 1999, the number of students who spoke a language other than English in the home doubled. Of those ages 18 to 24, language minority students were much less likely to have completed high school than native English speakers (31% vs. 10%; Klein, Bugarin, Beltranena, & McArthur, 2004). y , In the 2005-06 academic year, 56.5% of students with disabilities graduated with a regular high school diploma. The event dropout rate for students with disabilities in 2005-06 was 26.2%. Across disability categories, the highest dropout rate was found for students with Severe Emotional Disturbance (44.9%), followed by those with a Specific Learning Disability (25.1%), Speech or Language Impairment (22.7%), and Mental Retardation (22.3%; Planty et al., 2008). Predictors of Dropout Status vs. Alterable Variables Students less likely t l t h l if St d t l lik l to complete school if: Hispanic, Native American, or African-American descent, low-SES backgrounds, low SES live in single parent homes, Have a sibling or parent that dropped out, have disabilities, or live in the Southern and Western regions of the U.S student family Alterable variables at student, family, and school levels Reschly & Christenson, 2006 Students - Protective and Risk Factors Complete homework High rate of absences Come to class prepared Behavior problems g High locus of control Poor academic Good self-concept performance Expectations for school p Grade retention completion Working No extra curricular participation Reschly & Christenson, 2006 Family – Protective and Risk Factors Parental monitoring g Low educational Availability of learning expectations resources Mobility (e g Academic support (e.g., help with homework) and Permissive parenting motivational support (e.g., styles high t ti t lk t hi h expectations, talk to Low contact with school children about school) for learning Lack of conversations b t h l about school Reschly & Christenson, 2006 Schools – Protective and Risk Factors y Orderly school environments Weak adult authority Committed, caring teachers Large school size (>1,000 Fair discipline policies students) O ii f i l Opportunities for involvement High pupil-teacher ratios Relationship with one caring adult Few caring relationships between staff and students Poor or uninteresting i l curricula Low expectations and Reschly & Christenson, 2006 high rates of truancy Also consider Push/Pull Effects (Jordan, McPartland, & Lara, 1999) p y y Prediction of dropout in early elementary school based on attendance, behavior, academic performance – especially reading, and attachment to school Alexander, Entwisle Horsey Hendricks Alexander Entwisle, & Horsey, 1997; Barrington & Hendricks, 1989; Ensminger & Slusarcick, 1992; Lloyd, 1978 Many of the serious warning signs present later in high school, such as failing courses and high-stakes assessments and significant behavior problems, were preceded by less severe forms of withdrawal present in elementary and middle school Engaging students at school and with learning… ( y Brief overview (from Christenson, Reschly et al., 2008)) Engagement: Our theoretical model for understanding dropout and completion, cornerstone of interventions that successfully promote completion More recently, the basis of high school reform initiatives (e.g., 2004 NRC & IM book) Multidimensional: M l idi i l Affect, behavior, cognition, and academic (Appleton et al., 2006; Christenson et al., 2008; Reschly & Christenson, 2006) Dropout is best understood as a gradual process of disengagement across years Intervention Interventions Currently, “Currently, we know considerably more about who drops out than we do about the essential intervention components for whom and under what conditions.” Christenson et al., 2001 Reviews: Dynarski & Gleason, 2002 Lehr et al., 2003 ll Prevatt & Kelly, 2003 Highlights from Recent Reviews Interventions are often research based; few grounded in theory Focus is generally on change within students rather than schools, in the important contextual influences – schools families, peers Despite what we know about dropout being a long-term process of disengagement, most interventions delivered at the secondary-school level – a time when the problems are at the most severe levels and our interventions are least likely to be effective Highlights continued… Few interventions have been replicated Despite the very high dropout rate among students g with high incidence disabilities – few interventions that include this population of students Many practices commonly used by schools are ineffective programs Gleason (review of federal programs, Dynarski & Gleason, 2002) Moving forward There is evidence that comprehensive, individualized, long-term interventions positively affect school completion among youth (Christenson & Thurlow, 2004). I f l i di ii i Importance of evaluating programs and initiatives Draw from promising practices What’s promising Dynarski & Gleason (2002) Provided extra personal support for students Created smaller and more personal settings Need more intensive interventions Other promising practices may include early reading interventions, tutoring, counseling, mentoring, caring environments and relationships, g, g p, block scheduling (Lehr et al., 2003) Essential elements l f d db h bl Early intervention for academic and behavior problems. Positive climate of caring and support between students and educators. Curricular connections with students interests and goals Collaboration and connections to the larger community Availability f h l f t d t l bl A il bilit of help for students personal problems Opportunities for academic success and the provision of individual assistance. Jimerson, Reschly & Hess (2008) (Drawn from Anderson, Christenson & Lehr, 2004; McPartland, 1994; Schargel & Smink, 2001) Promote these elements at the school level, within classrooms, and for more intensive individualized interventions i t ti (for more information, see Jimerson et al., 2008) Recall alterable variables related to school completion at student, family, and school levels Christenson’s (2008) distinction between demographic and functional risk Key for Schools and Districts systematic monitoring of all students for signs of disengagement, such as attendance and behavior problems, failing courses, off ki f di d d d i l l l f track in terms of credits earned toward graduation, low levels of participation, problematic or few close relationships with peers and/or teachers, following up with those who are at risk (Anderson, Christenson Lehr Christenson (Anderson Christenson, & Lehr, 2004; Reschly & Christenson, 2006).
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