Early Indicators

All Research

From First Grade Forward: Early Foundations of High School Dropout

In tracking the educational progress of a sample of Baltimore school- children from entrance into first grade in fall 1982 through early spring 1996, the authors examined the children's personal qualities, first-grade experiences, and family circumstances as precursors to high school dropout.

Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Horsey, C. S. (1997). From first grade forward: Early foundations of high school dropout. Sociology of education, 87-107.

The On-track indicator as a predictor of high school graduation.

The first year of high school is a critical transition period for students. Those who succeed in
their first year are more likely to continue to do well in the following years and eventually

Allensworth, E. M., & Easton, J. Q. (2005). The on-track indicator as a predictor of high school graduation. Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago.

What matters for staying on-track and graduating in Chicago Public High Schools: A close look at course grades, failures and attendance in the freshman year.

Research on dropping out has shown that the decision to persist in or leave school is affected by multiple contextual factors interacting in a cumulative way over the life course of a student. Often overlooked in this discussion is one most directly related to graduation: student course performance. This report looks at student performance in freshman coursework, how it is related to eventual graduation and how personal and school factors contribute to success of failure in freshman-year courses

Allensworth, E. M., & Easton, J. Q. (2007). What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Highs Schools: A Close Look at Course Grades, Failures, and Attendance in the Freshman Year. Research Report. Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Putting Middle Grades Students on the Graduation Path

This brief, drawing on our research and field work, illuminates key policy and practice implications of the middle grades playing a stronger role in achieving our national goal of graduating all students from high school prepared for college or career and civic life.

Balfanz, R., & Herzog, L. (2005). Keeping middle grades students on-track to graduation: Initial analysis and implications. Presentation at the second Regional Middle Grades Symposium, Philadelphia.

Sent home and put off track. Closing the school discipline gap: Equitable remedies for excessive exclusion

This study examined students who were first time 9th graders in the 2000-01 school year and follows them through to high school and post-secondary outcomes. The 9th grade suspension data finds that black students, students who are economically disadvantaged, and special education students are disproportionately suspended, both in the frequency of suspensions and the duration of days lost. Disciplinary incidents were found to be interrelated with other of indicators of student disengagement from school, such as course failures and absenteeism

Balfanz, R., Byrnes, V., & Fox, J. H. (2015). Sent home and Put off track. Closing the school discipline gap: Equitable remedies for excessive exclusion, 17-30.

BURIED TREASURE: Developing a Management Guide From Mountains of School Data

This report provides a practical “management guide,” for an evidence-based key indicator data decision system for school districts and schools.

Celio, M. B., & Harvey, J. (2005). Buried Treasure: Developing A Management Guide From Mountains of School Data. Center on Reinventing Public Education.

Impact of North Carolina's Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School

A recent study, attempts to answer this question by examining the effects of two North Carolina early-childhood programs on students’ educational outcomes in elementary school. These findings indicate that North Carolina’s investment in early childhood programs is associated with improved educational outcomes. Importantly, these effects don’t appear to fade during the elementary grades

Dodge, K. A., Bai, Y., Ladd, H. F., & Muschkin, C. G. (2016). Impact of North Carolina's Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School. Child Development.

Understanding Why Students Drop Out of High School, According to Their Own Reports:

This study examines seven nationally representative studies on school dropout and their findings on why students dropout of school. 

Doll, J. J., Eslami, Z., & Walters, L. (2013). Understanding why students drop out of high school, according to their own reports: Are they pushed or pulled, or do they fall out? A comparative analysis of seven nationally representative studies. Sage Open, 3(4), 2158244013503834.

First Grade and Educational Attainment by Age 22: A New Story

Studies of the persistence of social stratification rely heavily on students’ experience in secondary schools. In this study, outcomes for a randomly selected panel of Baltimore children, followed from age 6 to age 22, demonstrate that first graders’ social contexts and personal resources explain educational attainment levels in early adulthood about as well as do similar resources measured in adolescence.

Entwisle, D. R., Alexander, K. L., & Olson, L. S. (2005). First grade and educational attainment by age 22: a new story 1. American Journal of Sociology, 110(5), 1458-1502.

Developmental lag versus deficit models of reading disability: A longitudinal, individual growth curves analysis

This study examined individual growth curves were used to test whether the development of children with reading disabilities is best characterized by models of developmental lag or developmental deficit.

Francis, D. J., Shaywitz, S. E., Stuebing, K. K., Shaywitz, B. A., & Fletcher, J. M. (1996). Developmental lag versus deficit models of reading disability: A longitudinal, individual growth curves analysis. Journal of Educational psychology, 88(1), 3.

Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children.

This work establishes a scientifically substantiated link between children's early family experience and their later intellectual growth—a link that exists regardless of a child's race.

Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Paul H Brookes Publishing.

The early catastrophe.

2 1/2 years of observing 42 families for an hour each month to learn about what typically went on in homes with 1- and 2-year-old children learning to talk. The data from this study showed that ordinary families differ immensely in the amount of experience with language and interaction they regularly provide their children and that differences in children’s experience are strongly linked to children’s language accomplishments at age 3. The goal of this longitudinal study was to discover what was happening in children’s early experience that could account for the intractable difference in rates of vocabulary growth we saw among 4-year-olds.

Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American educator, 27(1), 4-9.

Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Behaviors

This report, produced by the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma.

Kennelly, L., & Monrad, M. (2007). Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Interventions. American Institutes for Research.

Addressing Student Engagement and Truancy Prevention During the Elementary School Years: A Replication Study of the Check & Connect Model

Students who are at risk of dropping out of school can be identified retrospectively as early as third grade on the basis of attendance patterns, academic performance, and behavior. Check & Connect is a model designed to promote student engagement, support regular attendance, and improve the likelihood of school completion.

Lehr, C. A., Sinclair, M. F., & Christenson, S. L. (2004). Addressing student engagement and truancy prevention during the elementary school years: A replication study of the check & connect model. Journal of education for students placed at risk, 9(3), 279-301.

Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal, and Social Benefits of Investment in Early Childhood Development

This study demonstrates, for the first time, that providing all 20% of the nation’s three- and four-year-old children who live in poverty with a high-quality ECD program would have a substantial payoff for governments and taxpayers in the future.

Lynch, R. G. (2004). Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal, and Social Benefits of Investment in Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

Unfulfilled promise: The dimensions and characteristic’s of Philadelphia’s dropout crisis, 2000-2005

This report addresses three central sets of questions: (1) How many students in grades 6 through 12 drop out of Philadelphia's public schools in a single year? What are the key characteristics of these students, including their age, grade, race/ethnicity, gender, type of school attended, and neighborhood of residence?; (2) What percentage of 9th graders graduates within four years, five years, or six years of starting high school? What has been the trend in these cohort graduation rates over the past 5 years? What are the trends in cohort graduation rates for males and females and for students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds?; and (3) Which student characteristics, knowable or potentially knowable by school personnel and agency staff, can identify students as being at high risk of dropping out of high school?

Neild, R. C., & Balfanz, R. (2006). Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-2005. Philadelphia Youth Network.

The path to dropping out: Evidence for intervention

In this research-based book, Roderick examines two critical factors impacting graduation or dropping out. They are school transition to middle school and from there to high school and, secondly, grade retention.

Roderick, M. R. (1993). The path to dropping out: Evidence for intervention. Auburn House.

Bridging the Early Language Gap: A Plan for Scaling Up

This white paper describes a multi-tiered set of interventions pitched at the population, community, and individual levels. This multi-tiered initiative would employ interventions at multiple touchpoints to ensure a broad reach across diverse communities and to offer strategies that are tailored to a child’s development stage.

Suskind, D., Kuhl, P., Leffel, K. R., Landry, S., Cunha, F., & Neckerman, K. M. (2013, September). Bridging the early language gap: a plan for scaling up. In A white paper prepared for the White House meeting on bridging the thirty-million-word gap. Retrieved from http://stagingharris. uchicago. edu/sites/default/files/White% 20Paper% 20Suskind_Leffel_Landry_Cunha (Vol. 209, No. 2030, p. 2020131).

Back to Top