Identifying At-Risk Students

Research shows that 9th grade is the make-or-break year for turning around students at risk of dropping out. In her Sunday morning session, “Graduation Pathways,” Paige Ponder from Chicago Public Schools presented the Emerging Early Warning System they use. She named four unique groups of students who emerge as at-risk students:

  1. Students who are overage at entry; they’ve struggled in grades K–8. Sixty percent are off track already, and only 27 percent graduate.
  2. Students with high absence rates by the end of fall semester. Eighty-one percent are off track, and only 19 percent graduate.
  3. Students with high rates of course failure at the end of fall semester. They are, by definition, off track, and only 34 percent graduate.
  4. Students with high rates of course failure at the end of spring semester. They are also off track for graduation and only 39 percent graduate.

What strategies are being used by your school systems to ensure students walk across that graduation stage?