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1 Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities :What the Research Tells Us Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative Fall Meeting October 26-27,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities :What the Research Tells Us Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative Fall Meeting October 26-27,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities :What the Research Tells Us Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative Fall Meeting October 26-27, 2007 © 2007 Clemson University – All rights reserved

2 2 Module Focus Discuss six major factors that make dropout a serious national concern Provide insight from the research in dropout prevention for students with disabilities Provide strategies and recommendations for school administrators

3 3 The Bare Facts

4 4 Bare Facts About 28% of all students with disabilities drop out of school each year About 800 students with disabilities officially drop out of school every school day. More are lost by falling through the cracks…

5 5 Bare Facts On average, a dropout earns $19,000 per year It usually takes a dropout 3 years to find initial employment and about 11 years to find stable employment

6 6 Why Is Dropout Such A Critical Issue? Undermines school completion Too prevalent among some student groups Negative outcomes for youth Tied to national accountability High costs to all High visibility

7 7 Things ARE Getting Better Source of Data used in this graph: Retrieved on 2/12/ 17.8% decrease in dropout rates 11% increase in graduation rates

8 8 What the Research Tells Us: Understanding Drop Out: Key Concepts

9 9 DiscussionDiscussion 1.Why do SWD drop out of school? 2.DO YOU AGREE? Schools (i.e., administrators and educators) bear some responsibility for students who dropout. Why or Why not? Activity 2

10 10 Key Concept: Schools Influence Dropout School policies & procedures Discipline, grading, standards, retention Structure & class assignment School size, transitions, tracking Course content & instruction Boredom, curriculum quality Climate & relationships Alienation, negative interactions

11 11 What Students Say Students report that HS academic classes are boring and lack relevance in their view Less than 10% can tell you how their academic classes relate to their future Over 75% of youth report thinking about dropping out before 8 th grade Less than 5% report talking to someone at school about dropping out of school

12 12 Dropping out of school is a process of disengagement that begins early. Engaging students in school and learning is key in preventing dropout and keeping kids in school. Enhancing students connection with school and facilitating their success are promising approaches to improving school completion. Key Concept: Dropout Is A Process of Disengagement

13 13 Student Engagement in School and Learning Engagement is a multi-dimensional construct involving associated indicators and facilitators (Christenson, 2002) –Academic (homework completion, on-task) –Behavioral (attendance, participation) –Cognitive (relevance of education to future) –Psychological (sense of belonging)

14 14 Key Concept: Dropout is Predictable Not an isolated event Elementary years, process begins Elevated dropout rates reported among children who were rated as highly aggressive by their 1 st grade teachers (Ensminger & Slusarcick, 1992). Dropouts could be distinguished from graduates with 66% accuracy by the third grade using attendance data; and Identification of dropouts can be accomplished with reasonable accuracy based on review of school performance (behavior, attendance, academics) during the elementary years (Barrington & Hendricks, 1989). Students who had repeated a grade as early as K – 4 th grade were five times more likely to drop out of school (Kaufman & Bradby, 1992). SCS 02/07

15 15 Predictors of Dropout 1.The four strongest predictors – determined by the end of sixth grade 1.Poor attendance 2.Poor behavior 3.Failing math 4.Failing English 2.Sixth graders who do not attend school regularly, receive poor behavior marks, or fail math or English 10% chance of graduating on time 20% chance of graduating a year late ( (Balfanz & Herzog, 2005; 2006)

16 16 Predictors of Dropout 3.Students who repeated middle school grades are 11 times more likely to drop out than students who had not repeated 4.A student who is retained two grades increases their risk of dropping out of high school by 90% (Roderick, 1995). 5.Transition between schools Middle school/junior high school to high school

17 17 6.Students who enter ninth grade two or more grade levels behind their peers have only a one in two chance of being promoted to the tenth grade on time 7.Ninth grade retention is the biggest predictor of dropouts 8.The biggest fall off for students is between ninth and tenth grade (Balfanz & Herzog, 2006) Predictors of Dropout

18 18 Predictors of Dropout (Balfanz & Herzog, 2006) Poor attendance Failed English Bad behavior records Failed math 14% graduated on- time or with one extra year 16% on-time graduation rate 17% on-time graduation rate 21% on-time graduation rate

19 19 What We Know Problem behaviors coupled with academic difficulties or prior academic failures are key risk factors that are predictive of school dropout. Repeated use of exclusionary discipline practices, such as suspension, has been identified as one of the major factors contributing to dropout. High absenteeism and retention are serious risk factors for dropping out that can be monitored by schools. Academic progress and school completion are not equally distributed across disability, income, or ethnicity.

20 20 Key Concepts: Dropout Has Multiple Effects & Associated Variables Effects –Pull Effects –Push Effects Variables –Status Variables –Alterable Variables

21 21 Push effects – situations or experiences within the school environment that contribute to feelings of alienation, failure and dropout (e.g., raising standards without providing supports, suspension, negative school climate, poor policies and procedures) Pull effects – factors external to the school environment that weaken or detract from the importance of school completion (e.g., peers, pregnancy, need to work to support family) EffectsEffects

22 22 Push Effects That Lead to Dropout Located within schools Cause students to feel unwelcome Students resist or altogether reject schooling Manifest disruptive behavior, chronic absenteeism, and completion cessation of academic effort

23 23 Did not like school Could not get along with teachers/students Suspended too often Expelled too often Did not feel safe at school Did not belong Could not keep up with school work/failing school Push Effects That Lead to Dropout

24 24 Pull Effects That Lead to Dropout Compete with the goal of regular school attendance Compete with successful school completion as a first priority Have to be performed in conjunction with attending school

25 25 Had to get a job Had to support family Was pregnant Wanted to have a family Wanted to travel Friends dropped out Got married, or planned to get married Had to care for family member Pull Effects That Lead to Dropout

26 26 Associated Variables Status Variables –Low SES –English as a second language –Students with Emotional/Behavior Disorders & Learning Disabilities –Age –Parents who are unemployed –Parents who are dropouts –High levels of school mobility

27 27 Alterable Variables –High rates of absenteeism and tardiness –Low grades –History of course failure –Alcohol and drug problems –Negative attitudes toward school –Grade retention –Low parental involvement –School engagement Associated Variables

28 28 What the Research Tells Us Prevention and Intervention

29 29 A Broader View Towards Prevention School completion encompasses a broader view than simply preventing dropout Dropping out of school is a process of disengagement that begins early Engaging students in school and learning is a key ingredient in preventing dropout and keeping kids in school A focus on enhancing students connection with school and facilitating successful school performance is a promising approach for improving school completion

30 30 Address Alterable Variables School-level alterable variables associated with school completion for students with disabilities (Wagner, Blackorby & Hebeler, 1993) –Providing direct, individualized tutoring and support to complete homework assignments –Providing support to attend class, and stay focused on school –Participation in vocational education classes –Participation in community-based work experience programs and training for competitive employment

31 31 Focus on Interventions That Work Strategies that are focused on student engagement Interventions that occur over time, usually months or years Interventions that involve a family or parent component Interventions that are strength based and involve a variety of contexts

32 32 Effective Interventions (Cobb, 2005) Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) –Curriculum training in problem solving, self- instruction, and situation self-awareness, including mentoring, teacher and peer modeling. Equally effective with younger and older adolescents and in schools as well as in residential and day treatment centers

33 33 Effective Interventions (Cobb, 2005) Applied Behavioral Analytic Interventions (ABA) –Designed to help students learn; frequency and intensity of interventions are increased in order to reach optimum learning; response cost interventions Programs focused on behaviors that lead to adolescents exiting school early (voluntary and involuntary)

34 34 Counseling/Therapeutic Interventions –Individual, group, family, and psycho- educational counseling along with vocational education; behavioral contracts, social skills training, individual psychotherapy, and wrap- around services Counseling programs embedded within the school that generalized to all of the students environments, especially for students with emotional disorders Effective Interventions (Cobb, 2005)

35 35 Conclusions (Cobb, 2005) FINDINGS Cognitive-behavioral Interventions – (YES) –Appears best for high incidence disabilities Applied Behavior Analytic Interventions – (Cautious Yes) –Appears useful to reduce verbally and physically aggressive behavior and both high and low incidence disabilities Counseling Interventions – (No Judgment Can Be Made) –Appears useful specifically for students with emotional disorders

36 36 Intervention Program/Strategy Intervention Description Outcome Variables Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success (ALAS) A collaborative approach involving the student, family, school, and community. Strategies include problem-solving training, coaching, attendance monitoring, increased feedback to parents, parent training in school participation, and increased awareness and use of community resources. dropout absenteeism on tract to graduate credit accumulation achievement Career Academics Employs a combination of career and academic training for students considered at-risk. The focus of career academies varies (e.g., health, technology). grade point average attendance credits retention courses passed Check & Connect Promotes student engagement via a monitor/mentor who maintains regular contact with the student, family, and teachers. Students receive basic or intensive interventions based on monitoring risk factors. student engagement credit load enrollment status assignment completion on tract to graduate Coca Cola Valued Youth Program Helps to build the self-esteem and self- concept of at-risk youth by giving them the responsibility of being tutors to younger children. reading grades self-esteem attitude/school self-concept dropout Dropout Intervention Models

37 37 Intervention Program/Strategy Intervention Description Outcome Variables Project COFFEE Offers individualized instruction through an alternative occupational education program. Addresses the academic, social, emotional, and occupational needs of students at risk for dropout. attendance grade point average dropout School Transitional Environment Project (STEP) Intended to help students during the transition period from one school to another. Alters the environment of the school, modifies the role of the homeroom teacher, and works to enhance communication between home and school. dropout grade point average absenteeism academic environment Support Center for Adolescent Mothers (Family Growth Center) Created for first-time mothers to decrease dropout and discourage repeat teen pregnancies. Incorporates a significant community component. dropout pregnancy Teen Outreach Program (TOP) Designed to prevent dropout and teen pregnancy through volunteer and educational experiences and discussion of life-skills topics using the Teen Outreach Curriculum. suspension dropout pregnancy problem behaviors course failure Dropout Intervention Models

38 38 Effectiveness Ratings for Dropout Prevention Programs in Three Domains InterventionStaying in schoolProgressing in schoolCompleting school ALAS (Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success) +? Career Academies +? ? Check & Connect ++?? Financial Incentives for Teen Parents to Stay in School +??? High School Redirection ± +?? Middle College High School ?? Project GRAD ?? Quantum Opportunity Program ?? Talent Development High Schools +? Talent Search +? Twelve Together +?? Key + Positive effects: strong evidence of a positive effect with no overriding contrary evidence +? Potentially positive effects: evidence of a positive effect with no overriding contrary evidence ± Mixed effects: evidence of inconsistent effects ? No discernible effects: no affirmative evidence of effects -? Potentially negative effects: evidence of a negative effect with no overriding contrary evidence - Negative effects: strong evidence of a negative effect with no overriding contrary evidence Source: What Works Clearinghouse (2007)

39 39 What the Research Tells Us: What Do We Know: Lessons Learned

40 40 Lessons Learned Dropout is COMPLEX – there is no one solution – the costs are substantial Dropout does not occur overnight SWD are at considerable risk We must identify and address risk factors Educators can influence risk factors Evidence-based practices are essential

41 41 What Do We Know? Early school departure has been a prominent national issue for the last two decades. Dropping out of school presents a serious national, state, and local problem. School completion has become a high-stakes issue for schools and school districts. Approximately 1 in 8 children in the U.S. never graduate from high school. One high school student drops out every nine seconds (180 days of seven hours each).

42 42 What Do We Know? On average, students with disabilities are at great risk of dropping out of school. Certain groups of students are at greater risk of dropping out of school as compared to their peers (LD, SED, SES) There are both pull and push factors that contribute to school dropout.

43 43 What Do We Know? There are alterable and status variables associated with dropping out of school. Alterable variables have predictability and are therefore amenable to change. Improvement efforts work best when systemically designed to focus on alterable variables.

44 44 What Do We Know? Dropouts are more likely to be unemployed or employed in low-skilled, lower-paying positions. Dropouts are more likely than high school graduates to need the support of living with parents in early adulthood, experience health problems, engage in criminal activities, and become dependent on welfare and other government programs. Dropouts are more likely to commit crimes as compared to students who complete school. Three to five years after dropping out, the cumulative arrest rate for youth with SED is 73%.

45 45 Research to Practice Recommendations for Administrators

46 46 1.Creating a Personalized and Orderly Learning Environment Safe and inviting environments facilitate learning and increase school attendance. Small learning communities make students feel known and improves school climate. Enhancements that increase school-wide social competence and positive behavioral supports decrease disciplinary actions that lead to dropout.

47 47 2.Improving Instructional Content and Pedagogy Teachers are likely to benefit from well-designed curricula and lesson plans that have already been developed. Good advanced training and ongoing coaching and consultation can help teachers make better use of well designed curricula Student achievement is enhanced by professional development activities that involve teachers working together to align curricula with standards, review assignments for rigor, and discuss ways of making classroom activities more engaging.

48 48 Improving Instructional Content and Pedagogy Both academic departments and small learning communities should be considered key venues for academic improvement. Use teacher meetings as an additional opportunity to focus on improving instructional practices linked to major strategies endorsed in the school improvement plan. In dropout prevention, effective teaching practices are the first line of defense.

49 49 Focusing on Effective Instruction Create and implement systemic improvement activities that focus efforts on changing teaching and learning practices. Activities should promote academic engagement that leads to academic success and the acquisition of useful employment skills Students learn appropriate behavior in the same way they learn to read – through instruction, practice, feedback, and encouragement

50 50 3.Assisting Students Who Enter High School with Poor Academic Skills Teach youth learning strategies to assist in improving demonstrating of their competence in content area courses: –Writing and Proofing strategies (INSPECT, PENS, writing plans) –Note taking strategies (guided notes, PIRATES,LINKS, 3R(review, read, relate)) –Reading comprehension and vocabulary strategies (RAP, summarization, text- structure, self-questioning, K-W-L,

51 51 Assisting Students Who Enter High School with Poor Academic Skills Teach youth learning strategies to assist in improving attention and memory. –Elaborations –Clustering and organization –Active learning –Enactments and manipulations –Using concrete examples, pictures, and imagery

52 52 4.Preparing Students for the World Beyond High School Provide career awareness activities and work internships during high school. Provide opportunities for students to apply their learning in relevant, real world situations and help them see the connections to their own futures. Create structured partnerships between school and employers and designate a full time liaison when possible.

53 53 5.Increasing family engagement and school involvement Get parents involved! Parents exert a powerful influence over whether their adolescent children with disabilities finish high school. Higher rates of school completion are associated with higher household income, better educated head of household, parents' expectations that children will go on to postsecondary school, and greater family involvement at school.

54 54 6. Helping Students To Address Problems That Interfere With Learning Provide or assist students in obtaining social, health, and other personal resources they will need to overcome obstacles to their learning and meet their emergent basic needs. Personalize programs as needed to address individual student needs and improve post-school outcomes.

55 55 7.Helping Students Build Relationships. Enhance personal relationships with caring adults through organizational structures that provide time and opportunity. –Mentoring –Service learning –Clubs These relationships and connections enhance students' connection with school and facilitate successful school performance.

56 56 8.Listening to Student Voice Students want 5 things to help them be successful 1.Help with identifying what they want to do in life -basis for a productive adulthood - Relevance 2.Classwork that they see as connected to their lives or future - Relevance 3.Engagement in the learning process - Rigor 4.Positive interactions with adults - Relationships 5.A certain level of enjoyment during their high school years - Revelry

57 57 9.Using Data for Useful Decisions Improving the quality of your data Analyzing your data to tell your own story Use any trends or patterns you see to identify causes of problems and to focus TA efforts Targeting school level reform that can reduce student risk factors and dropping out. Monitoring your progress and evaluating your efforts

58 58 10.Establishing a framework for local implementation Creating a system for routinely monitoring risk indicators Establishing a district leadership team that includes a wide variety of individuals who can provide input on issues related to dropout. Conducting causal analysis and needs assessment to identify target areas of improvement

59 59 © 2007 National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities at Clemson University – All rights reserved

60 60 11.Focusing Programs to Address Relevant Needs Focus on student engagement in school Intervene early – dont wait for trouble Address both protective and risk factors Protective Factors: Completing homework, attending and participating, coming to class prepared, expecting to graduate, having good self concept Risk Factors: Poor attendance, academic problems, behavior problems, failing a grade, working to support the family

61 Addressing School Completion At Multiple Levels Targeted school level reform that can reduce student risk factors and dropping out. Implementation of early intervening strategies that are universal in nature and focused on prevention. Extra help for certain groups of students who share particular risk factors Extensive or personalized help for individual students.

62 62 13.Using Interventions that Work Implementing evidence-based strategies that : –promote academic success, – decrease inappropriate behaviors, –increase student engagement –Increase parental involvement

63 Stimulating Change Creating effective change demands strong administrative support and an investment of personnel resources. Consider the adequacy of what is already in place and the capacity of local personnel to envision and implement change. In adopting new practices, consider essential questions –Does it work? –How well does it work? –Will it work in my district with my students

64 64 Stimulating Change Stay the course until new practices/initiatives have been in place long enough for their effectiveness to receive a fair test. Balance high ambitions with reasonable.

65 Expanding Policy Pathways Increase options for student with disabilities to earn regular diploma Parental engagement and shared graduation plans Early warning systems Support for adult advocates LEA incentives to increase graduation and decrease dropout Endorsement of research on what works

66 Staying True to Effective Leadership Believe that schools are for student learningfocus on student achievement Build trust by listening to and communicating with staff, students, parents, and other community members Be proactive in anticipating and addressing issues Act on what you knowand can prove! (practice data-driven decision making)

67 67 Recognize and reward good leadership among your staff Encourage and support parental and community involvement and collaboration Lead the charge for the adoption of evidence-based curricula, strategies and programs Staying True to Effective Leadership

68 68 Contact Information Loujeania Williams Bost, PhD Phone: (864) Sandra Covington Smith, PhD Phone: (864) NDPC-SD 209 Martin Street Clemson, SC Fax: (864)

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