The problem and the reasons for high school dropouts in the united states

Page 9 1 Background and Context Failure to complete high school has been recognized as a social problem in the United States for decades and, as discussed below, the individual and social costs of dropping out are considerable. Social scientists, policy makers, journalists, and the public have pondered questions about why students drop out, how many drop out, what happens to dropouts, and how young people might be kept from dropping out. Currently, many voices are arguing about the effects of standards-based reforms and graduation tests on students' decisions to drop out and about which dropout counts are correct. A significant body of research has examined questions about dropouts, and this section of the report provides an overview of current knowledge about these young people.

The problem and the reasons for high school dropouts in the united states

Losing Ground Paul E. Barton As we strive to improve high school achievement, we must not forget the increasing number of students who fail to graduate. A recent upsurge of interest in the student dropout problem seems to have come as a surprise to U. During the last two decades, complacency had set in as reports from the U.

The long-dormant concern about dropouts revived several years ago, however, when half a dozen independent researchers in universities and think tanks began publishing estimates of high school completion rates that contradicted the official rates.

As a result, the issue of high school dropouts has returned to the front burner. Many Estimates, Similar Results The recent independent estimates of high school completion rates are almost always lower than the official estimates—including those that states have reported to the U.

These independent estimates—derived through different methods and not always pertaining to the same year—vary somewhat, but they are all in the same ballpark.

The problem and the reasons for high school dropouts in the united states

Jay Greene at the Manhattan Institute estimated a high school completion rate of 71 percent for ; Christopher Swanson and Duncan Chaplin at the Urban Institute estimated I describe these studies and their methodologies in detail in Unfinished Business: Then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige appointed a task force to look into the matter.

Later, the National Governors Association convened a Task Force on State High School Graduation Data to propose a plan for how states could develop a high-quality, comparable high school graduation measure.

All of this is being weighed in Washington and in state capitals. A Closer Look at the Statistics My own analysis Barton, a confirmed the estimates of other researchers. I relied on two numbers I knew to be actual counts. One was the census count of the population cohort that would be of graduation age 17 or 18 in spring ; the other was the number of regular public and private high school diplomas awarded that year as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.

My final analysis estimated that To measure change over time, I made estimates for using the same approach and found a completion rate of 72 percent for that year.

For both andI also estimated individual state completion rates, which varied broadly. Forthe spread was from Inthe percentage ranged from Only seven states showed an increase in high school completion rates during the decade; rates in the remaining states declined Barton, b.

Many Estimates, Similar Results

Other researchers have found that minorities have lower completion rates than white students. For example, Elaine Allensworth carried out an excellent study of Chicago schools, which had individual student records available to track students.

Among boys, only 39 percent of black students graduated by age 19, compared with 51 percent of Latino students and 58 percent of white students. Comparable rates were 57 percent for black students, 65 percent for Latino students, and 71 percent for white students.

3 of high school in the United States and continued research could potentially prevent future students from dropping out of school. United Way Worldwide’s call to action we blogged about earlier this week prompted United Way of Stanislaus County to further research the issue of high school dropout. We found that dropping out of school is a process, and does not occur overnight. The proportion of high school dropouts among to year-olds has declined by more than half since , from 17 to seven percent in , a but wide disparities .

Research on the path that students travel through the grades may also shed light on the dropout problem. For example, one study identified an important trend that has developed over the last decade: Haney and colleagues found that in, more students were enrolled in grade 9 than in grade 8 the previous year.

Byseven states had at least 20 percent more students enrolled in the 9th grade than had been enrolled in that grade in the prior year, and one-half had at least 10 percent more.

We know that there is an association between failing a grade and dropping out.


And we know that more students are dropping out at younger ages. The research conducted in the last couple of years raises many questions. One issue is why the U. Census Bureau household survey estimates differ from the lower completion rates found by independent researchers. We can explain this difference in part by the fact that the census lumped regular diplomas and GEDs together.The United States Department of Education's measurement of the status dropout rate is the percentage of 16 to year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential.

School Dropouts: Examining the Space of Reasons

This rate is different from the event dropout rate and related measures of the status completion and average freshman completion rates. The status high school dropout rate in was %.

The proportion of high school dropouts among to year-olds has declined by more than half since , from 17 to seven percent in , a but wide disparities . Understanding why students drop out of high school and what can be done to encourage students to remain in school and graduate is very important to society as a whole, in order to reduce unemployment and crime within the communities of the United States.

Students are still dropping out of high school, but not at a rate of 7, per day. By Lauren Camera, Education Reporter By Lauren Camera, . The Dropout Problem: Losing Ground. Paul E. Barton. As a result, the issue of high school dropouts has returned to the front burner.

The education pipeline in the United States, – Chestnut Hill, MA: National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy. Dropping out means leaving high school, college, university or another group for practical reasons, necessities, or disillusionment with the system from which the individual in question leaves.

The Dropout Problem: Losing Ground - Educational Leadership