Dropout Prevention: Better Late Than Never
New original research report out of the Center for Public Education details the outcomes of students who take longer than four years to graduate high school.
In addition to academics, other factors were examined, including work, civics, and health.
The report asserts that on-time graduation remains the best outcome for students, and districts should make on-time graduation the first priority for all students, but the extra work late graduates and their schools put in toward earning a high school diploma pays off in every aspect of life.
The first of its kind, Better Late Than Never, examined data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, which followed a nationally representative sample of eighth graders through high school, college, and the workforce until the year 2000.
The report found that late graduates do markedly better in all arenas than GED recipients and dropouts. Additionally, when the data is controlled to compare students of similar socioeconomic status and achievement level, late graduates come close to on-time graduates’ achievement.
Other findings include:Late graduates distinguish themselves not so much by enrolling in college, but in completing a degree. While they are not significantly more likely (59 percent) than GED recipients (51 percent) to enroll in college, they are much more likely to go on and obtain either an associates or bachelors degree.
- Late graduates are more likely than GED recipients and dropouts to be employed and to hold full-time jobs.
- Late graduates are significantly better off in terms of job benefits. Of the late graduates who were employed after 1994, close to two-thirds (63 percent) held a job that offered retirement benefits compared to just over half (53 percent) of GED recipients and less than half of dropouts (45 percent). Seventy-six percent of late graduates also had health insurance coverage compared to 66 and 61 percent of GED recipients and dropouts, respectively.
- Although late graduates are no more likely to be registered to vote than GED recipients, late graduates are significantly more likely to have voted in a recent election (40 percent versus 29 percent). Late graduates are more likely than GED recipients and dropouts to be non-smokers and to exercise more. There were no differences among the groups in drinking habits.
Grad Nation: A Guidebook to Help Communities Tackle The Dropout CrisisAmerica's Promise Alliance (APA), a national partner in NEA’s dropout initiative, recently commissioned Grad Nation, a new tool comprising the best evidence-based practices for keeping young people in school along with suggestions for effectively preparing them for life after high school. This valuable tool is an outgrowth of APA’s state and local dropout prevention summits, and can help schools and communities ensure that solutions are developed to put our youth on a path to success.
Grad Nation is a guidebook that provides a road map to help communities tackle the dropout crisis. The goal of Grad Nation is to give schools and communities the tools they need to:
- Rally the community to end the dropout crisis
- understand the dimensions of the dropout challenge in the region
- Develop an effective plan to combat high dropout rates and prepare youth for advanced learning in and after high school
- Build strong partnerships to make lasting change happen.
The guidebookcontains research-based guidance for addressing the dropout crisis, ready-to-print tools, and links to additional partners and online resources. At this time of cutbacks in our school systems, it is vital to stand up for students and make sure they get the caring, expert support they need to succeed.
Grad Nation is a rich resource for NEA members as they work to ensure that all students receive a quality public education.