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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

ESSENTIAL TOOLS —
Increasing Rates of School Completion
Moving From Policy and Research to Practice

A Manual for Policymakers, Administrators, and Educators


Part III: What Works in Dropout Prevention?

Summary Chart of Sample Dropout Prevention Programs

Summary Chart of Sample Dropout Prevention Programs
Intervention Program/Strategy

Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success (ALAS)

Career Academies

Check & Connect

Coca Cola Valued Youth Program

Interpersonal Relations/Personal Growth Class

Ninth Grade Dropout Prevention Program (NGP)

Preventing School Dropout Beginning in Elementary Grades

Project COFFEE

School Transitional Environment Project (STEP)

Support Center for Adolescent Mothers (Family Growth Center)

Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

Intervention Description/
Outcome Variables

A collaborative approach involving the student, family, school, and community. Strategies include problem-solving training, counseling, attendance monitoring, increased feedback to parents, parent training in school participation, and increased awareness and use of community resources.
Outcomes: dropout, absenteeism, on track to graduate, credit accumulation, achievement

Employs a combination of career and academic training for students considered at-risk. The focus of career academies varies (e.g., health, technology).
Outcomes: grade point average, attendance, credits, retention, courses passed

Promotes student engagement via a monitor/mentor who maintains regular contact with the student, family, and teachers. Students receive basic or intensive interventions based on monitoring risk factors.
Outcomes: student engagement, credit load, enrollment status, assignment completion, on track to graduate

Helps to build the self-esteem and self-concept of at-risk youth by giving them the responsibility of being tutors to young children.
Outcomes: reading grades, self-esteem, attitude/school, self-concept, dropout

Focuses on both drug use and dropout. Emphasizes study- and decision-making skills training as well as utilizing peer tutors and experiential learning.
Outcomes: drug use, grade point average, self-esteem, peer relations, school bonding, achievement, dropout, credits earned, attendance

Schools design interventions to meet academic needs, create a caring atmosphere, and provide relevant and challenging curriculum. Utilizes strategies such as an orientation program, peer tutoring, and small class size and builds relationships between home and school.
Outcomes: dropout, attendance

Seeks to reduce student disruptiveness through social and problem-skills training to prevent later dropout. Incorporates a parent training component as well.
Outcomes: level of disruptiveness, grade retention, dropout

Offers individualized instruction through an alternative occupational education program. Addresses the academic, social, emotional, and occupational needs of students at high risk for dropout.
Outcomes: attendance, grade point average, dropout

Intended to help students during the transition period from one school to another. Alters the environment of the school, modifies the role of the homeroom teacher, and works to enhance communication between home and school.
Outcomes: dropout, grade point average, absenteeism, academic environment

Created for first-time mothers to decrease dropout and discourage repeat teen pregnancies. Incorporates a significant community component.
Outcomes: dropout, pregnancy

Designed to prevent dropout and teen pregnancy through volunteer and educational experiences and discussion of life-skills topics using the Teen Outreach Curriculum.
Outcomes: suspension, dropout, pregnancy, problem behaviors, course failure

Population/Setting

School levela

middle school/junior high

high school

elementary, middle school/junior high, high school

middle school/junior high, high school

high school

high school

elementary

high school

middle school/junior high, high school

middle school/junior high, high school

middle school/junior high, high school

Subgroupsb

Hispanic/Latino, students with disabilities, at risk

at risk

students with disabilities, at risk

Hispanic/Latino, at risk

at risk

 

male, at risk

Native American, at risk

Not specified

female, at risk

at risk

Settingc

urban, suburban

urban

urban, suburban

urban, suburban

urban

rural

urban

urban, suburban, rural

urban, suburban, rural

urban

urban

Evidence of Effectiveness

Research designd

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups with random assignment

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups with random assignment

comparison groups with random assignment

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched)

Statistical significancee

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.

Effect sizef

 

Effect sizes are calculated and reported.

 

 

Effect sizes are calculated and reported.

 

Effect sizes are calculated and reported.

 

 

Effect sizes are calculated and reported.

 

Durability of effectsg

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

 

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.

Treatment integrityh

 

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

 

 

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

 

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

Sample size

286

27,490

94, 366, 149, 363

133

264/259

375

149

NA

1,965

88

1,487

Use of external evaluator

 

yes

no

yes

no

yes

no

yes

no

no

no

Multiple sites or studies

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

Implementation

Support personnel required

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Teacher/staff training

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

TBD

yes

yes

yes

Additional resources

yes

yes

no

yes

no

yes

no

yes

no

yes

yes

Duration requirement

2 yrs

3 yrs

2 yrs

no

1/2 year

1 yr

2 yrs

4 yrs

1 yr

none specified

1 yr

Manual or training available

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

Y, in French

no

no

yes

no

Cost information available

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

no

no

yes

yes

yes

FFI

Contact information

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

References

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

See definition of terms. See individual program abstracts for additional information.
a School level: E = elementary; M/J = middle school/junior high; HS = high school
b Subgroup: H/L = Hispanic/Latino; SD = students with disabilities; AR = at risk; M = male; F = female, NA = Native American; NS = not specified
c Setting: U = urban, R = rural, S = suburban
d Research design: RA = comparisons groups with random assignment; NRA = comparison groups without random assignment (e.g., matched); PREPO = pre-post comparisons
e Statistical significance: Y = Key outcomes are statistically significant and relevant statistics are reported.
f Effect size: Y = Effect sizes are calculated and reported.
g Durability of effects: Y = Program effects have been measured at least one year after termination of the intervention.
h Treatment integrity: Y = Procedures for measuring integrity of implementation are reported.

 


Table of Contents

Cover Page

Introduction & Getting Started

Part I: What Do We Know About Dropout Prevention?

Part II: How Were Sample Intervention Programs Selected?

  • The Need for Examples of Effective Interventions
  • Search Process & Initial Criteria
  • Raising the Bar
  • Final Parameters for Selection
  • Abstracts: Coding & Definitions

Part III: What Works in Dropout Prevention?

Part IV: Where Else Can I Go for More Information?

  • Related Resources & Organizations
  • Journal Articles & Related Publications
  • Web Sites Providing Data on Dropout Rates

Appendix: Reproducible Handouts on Dropout Prevention

References



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Citation: Lehr, C. A., Johnson, D. R., Bremer, C. D., Cosio, A., & Thompson, M. (2004). Essential tools: Increasing rates of school completion: Moving from policy and research to practice. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

Permission is granted to duplicate this publication in its entirety or portions thereof. Upon request, this publication will be made available in alternative formats. For additional copies of this publication, or to request an alternate format, please contact: Institute on Community Integration Publications Office, 109 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 624-4512, icipub@umn.edu.

This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.