Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Study Challenges the Traditional Perception That When Students Drop Out They Leave School Permanently

About a quarter of Utah students who dropped out and re-enrolled graduated on time with their peers, while another 30 percent graduated within six years, according to a new report.

The new study from Regional Educational Laboratory West was conducted in partnership with the Utah State Office of Education and examined data on students who were expected to graduate from Utah public schools in 2011 (entered high school in 2007-08).

While numerous studies have examined the national dropout crisis, comparatively little is known about students who drop out but later return to high school. Following a cohort of students expected to graduate from Utah public schools in 2011 after four years of high school, this report describes the extent of dropout and reenrollment statewide; how dropout and reenrollment rates differed by demographic characteristics; how academic progress differed for re-enrollees prior to leaving school compared to students who graduated without an interruption in enrollment and dropouts who did not return; and the final high school outcomes of dropouts who came back to school.

The report describes the prevalence, characteristics, and high school outcomes of dropouts who re-enroll.

Among the findings:

•    About one-fifth (19 percent) of students in Utah’s 2011 graduating cohort dropped out at some point during high school;

•    22 percent of those who dropped out had re-enrolled by 2011;

•    Among those who re-enrolled by 2011, 26 percent graduated on time in 2011 and 30 percent graduated by 2013 (within six years of entering high school);

•    The percentage of dropouts who returned to school decreased each year, and after returning to school most re-enrollees did not accumulate enough credits to graduate on time; and

•    Black and English learner students were at greater risk of not graduating because of their higher dropout rates and lower re-enrollment rates.

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