Once a Dropout, Not Always a Dropout
How many teenage dropouts eventually return to school, and why? Which students drop out permanently and which ones reenroll? And what results do the returning students achieve during the conventional four- or five-year time frame for high school graduation?
For years researchers have painted a statistical portrait of high school dropouts—which demographic groups do better or worse, at which grade levels they are most likely to fail, and how leaving school prematurely affects the future behaviors and earnings of adults.
These and other trends provide a retrospective on American students who don’t obtain a high school diploma. But until recently, researchers have ignored the story of what happens to high school dropouts who return to school.
A new study from the Regional Educational Laboratory West at WestEd focuses on these students who have moved in the shadows of the education system. The research offers some surprising details to our understanding of the transitions that young people make—or fail to make as they navigate through school.
The study also reveals important lessons for education leaders and policymakers who seek to address the broader dropout problem throughout the country.
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