Dropout prevention programs
- Programs can be school- or community-based and aim at increasing school engagement, school attachment, and academic performance
- Approaches often include creating smaller classes and lower teacher to student ratios
- Many strategies provide multiple support services, such as vocational training, counseling, case management, supplemental academic services, and mentoring
- Programs may focus on individual students or entire schools with low graduation rates
- Some programs include financial rewards, sanctions, or attendance monitoring to encourage engagement
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
High school-aged children
Outcomes and impact
- Reduced dropout rates
- Increased graduation rates
- Improved school performance
- Reduced absenteeism
- Programs such as vocational training and alternative schools have increased completion rates by up to 15%
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Ensure that sufficient staffing and resources are available to guarantee appropriate learning environments, provide counseling, and to closely monitor students.
- Include a variety of components, including academic remediation and tutoring, career and technical education, case management, counseling, mentoring and advocacy, etc.
- Assign adult advocates to students to improve program recruitment and retention.
- Include behavioral interventions and focus on problem-solving skills, instead of focusing solely on attendance monitoring.
- Restructure classrooms to provide personalized learning environments and foster strong student-teacher relationships in order to increase student engagement and lower dropout and truancy rates.
- Include families and community members in all aspects of the school’s operations.
- Implement programs that are intensive, comprehensive, and continue through the students’ entire secondary school career.