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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

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

A Manual for Policymakers, Administrators, and Educators

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

Related Resources & Organizations

The Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education seeks to ensure that at-risk middle and high school students achieve high standards and graduate prepared for college and success in life. This organization promotes the adoption of four research-based initiatives constituting a framework of excellence. These initiatives address adolescent literacy, teacher and principal quality, college preparation, and small learning communities.

Center for Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR)
CRESPAR’s mission is research, development, evaluation, and dissemination of school- and community-based programs and practices aimed at ensuring that each child reaches his or her full potential, regardless of family circumstances or other risk factors. CRESPAR’s work is organized into four programs of study: early and elementary education; middle schools and high schools; school, family, and community partnerships; and systemic supports for school reform. CRESPAR is a collaborative effort of Johns Hopkins University and Howard University.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)
NCSET seeks to create opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures. NCSET coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information in four major areas: providing improved access to the secondary education curriculum; ensuring positive postschool results in postsecondary education, employment, independent living and participation in community life; supporting student and family participation in decision making and planning; and improving collaboration and system linkages.

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)
NCEO focuses on assuring the participation of students with disabilities in national and state assessments, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. Topics addressed by NCEO include accommodations, accountability, alternate assessments, graduation requirements, Limited English Proficiency students, out-of-level testing, participation, reporting, standards, and universal design.

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N)
A clearinghouse for information on dropout prevention, NDCP/N conducts research, produces publications, and offers a variety of professional development activities. NDCP/N also compiles a database of promising programs designed to prevent dropout that can be accessed via its Web site. Program Assessment and Review is a professional service provided by NDPC/N to promote student achievement and increase graduation rates.

National Longitudinal Transition Study – 2 (NLTS2)
NLTS2 is a study designed to document, over the next several years, the experiences of a national sample of students with disabilities as they make the transition from high school into adult roles. NLTS2 focuses on a range of topics including high school coursework, extracurricular activities, academic performance, postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation. NLTS2 provides access to data tables online and produces reports, brochures, and newsletters of interest to many audiences.

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
OSEP is a federal office that assists states and local school districts in improving results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. OSEP offers IDEA-authorized formula grants to states and also makes available discretionary grants to colleges, universities, and other nonprofit organizations to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology, personnel development and parent training and information centers.

What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)
WWC, established in 2002, seeks to become a central, independent, trusted source of evidence of what works in education. Through Web-based databases, the WWC will provide decisionmakers with information based on high-quality scientific research. This information will include reviews of potentially replicable interventions to enhance student outcomes, information about evaluation studies of interventions, scientifically rigorous reviews of test instruments used to assess educational effectiveness, and lists of individuals and organizations willing to conduct evaluations of educational interventions.

Journal Articles & Related Publications

Christenson, S. L., Sinclair, M. F., Lehr, C. A., & Hurley, C. M. (2000). Promoting successful school completion. In K. M. Minke & G. C. Bear (Eds.), Preventing school problems - Promoting school success (pp. 211-257). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

General Accounting Office. (2002). School dropouts: Education could play a stronger role in identifying and disseminating promising prevention strategies. (GAO-02-240). Washington, DC: Author.

National Dropout Forum. (2002, December). Examining the current state of knowledge on dropout prevention and intervention strategies: A national dropout forum. Washington, DC: Sponsored by Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, and National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, University of Minnesota.

Sutherland, M., & MacMillan, R. C. (2001). Preventing high school dropout among students with mild disabilities: A literature review. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED456610).

Thurlow, M. L., Christenson, S., Sinclair, M., Evelo, D. L., & Thornton, H. (1995). Staying in school: Strategies for middle school students with learning and emotional disabilities. (ABC Dropout Prevention and Intervention Series). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.

Thurlow, M. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Johnson, D. R. (2002, July). Students with disabilities who drop out of school: Implications for policy and practice. Issue Brief, 1(2). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

Wagner, M., Newman, L., D’Amico, R., Jay, E. D., Butler-Nalin, P., Marder, C., & Cox, R. (1991). Youth with disabilities: How are they doing? The first comprehensive report from the national longitudinal transition study of special education students. (SRI International Contract 300-87-0054). Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

Woods, G. (2001). Reducing the dropout rate. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved December 17, 2003, from http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/9/c017.html


Rossi, R. J. (Ed.). (1994). School and students at risk: Context and framework for positive change. New York: Teachers College Press.
This book includes 13 chapters written by various authors with expertise in dropout and addressing the needs of students placed at-risk. Topics that are addressed include the context and history of reform efforts, culture and cultural conflict in the school, reforms and interventions to promote school success for students placed at-risk, and frameworks for change.

Schargel, F. P., & Smink, J. (2001). Strategies to help solve our school dropout problem. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
This book focuses on the problem of dropout in the context of both primary and secondary schools. The book includes 20 chapters that provide information on the problem of dropout, who drops out of school and why, and the problem of dropout in other countries outside of the U.S. In addition, 15 strategies for preventing dropout are discussed.

Web Sites Providing Data on Dropout Rates

National Center for Education Statistics
The National Center for Education Statistics collects and analyzes data related to education in the United States and other countries. NCES develops annual reports including Condition of Education and Digest of Education Statistics. NCES also has several survey and program areas, including High School and Beyond (a longitudinal study) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

National Education Goals Report
The National Education Goals Report (also known as Goals 2000) was released in 1993. A series of reports describes the status of education in the United States. A summary of information for each state is provided for eight national goals including Goal 2, focused on school completion. Additional information on Goals 2000 legislation and related items may be found at http://www.ed.gov/G2K

23rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This report includes a section describing trends since 1993-94 in dropout and graduation rates for students with disabilities. Graduation rates vary by disability category and by race/ethnicity. Annual reports from prior years are also available online.

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


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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.