The What Works Clearinghouse has released a new practice guide, Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools , that offers research-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and secondary schools. The goal is to help educators and administrators learn strategies for identifying at-risk pupils and addressing the challenges they face.
The WWC and an expert panel chaired by Russell Rumberger from the University of California, Santa Barbara synthesised existing research on the topic and combined it with insight from the panel to identify the following four recommendations, which include a rating of the strength of the research evidence supporting each recommendation:
- Monitor the progress of all pupils, and proactively intervene when pupils show early signs of attendance, behaviour, or academic problems (minimal evidence).
- Provide intensive, individualised support to pupils who have fallen off track and face significant challenges to success (moderate evidence).
- Engage pupils by offering curricula and programmes that connect schoolwork with college and career success and that improve pupils’ capacity to manage challenges in and out of school (strong evidence).
- For schools with many at-risk pupils, create small, personalised communities to facilitate monitoring and support (moderate evidence).
Each recommendation provides specific, actionable strategies; examples of how to implement the recommended practices in schools; advice on how to overcome potential obstacles; and a description of the supporting evidence.
Source: Rumberger, R., Addis, H., Allensworth, E., Balfanz, R., Bruch, J., Dillon, E., Duardo, D., Dynarski, M., Furgeson, J., Jayanthi, M., Newman-Gonchar, R., Place, K., & Tuttle, C. (2017). Preventing dropout in secondary schools. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.