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Journal Issue: America's High Schools Volume 19 Number 1 Spring 2009

Finishing High School: Alternative Pathways and Dropout Recovery
John H. Tyler Magnus Lofstrom

Endnotes

  1. Claudia Goldin, "The Human Capital Century and American Leadership: Virtues of the Past," Journal of Economic History 61 (2001): 263–92.
  2. D. P. Gardner and others, "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. An Open Letter to the American People. A Report to the Nation and the Secretary of Education" (Washington: National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983).
  3. John M. Bridgeland, John J. DiIulio Jr., and Karen Burke Morison, "The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts," Report by Civic Enterprises (2006).
  4. Note also that in neither the event nor the status dropout rate are GED holders counted as dropouts.
  5. Stephen V. Cameron and James J. Heckman, "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics 11, no. 1 (1993): 1–47; David Boesel, Nabeel Alsalam, and Thomas M. Smith, "Educational and Labor Market Performance of GED Recipients" (Washington: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Department of Education, 1998); Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett, and John H. Tyler, "Who Benefits from a GED? Evidence from High School and Beyond," Review of Economics and Statistics 82, no. 1 (2000): 23–37; John H. Tyler, "The Economic Benefits of the GED: Lessons from Recent Research," Review of Educational Research 73, no. 3 (2003): 369–403; John H. Tyler and Magnus Lofstrom, "Is the GED an Effective Route to Postsecondary Education for School Dropouts?" Working Paper 13816 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008); John H. Tyler, Richard J. Murnane, and John B. Willett, "Who Benefits from a GED? Evidence for Females from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review 22, no. 3 (2003): 237–47.
  6. This is not to say that the GED does not improve labor market and schooling outcomes of GED-credentialed dropouts compared to non-credentialed dropouts. Existing research indicates that some dropouts benefit in the labor market from obtaining the GED credential; see, for example, Murnane, Willett, and Tyler, "Who Benefits from a GED?" (see note 5), and many postsecondary education institutions require some type of "certification," such as the GED, for admission.
  7. Duncan Chaplin, "GEDs for Teenagers: Are There Unintended Consequences?" (Washington: Urban Institute, 1999); Dean Lillard, "Do General Educational Development Certificate Policies Induce Youth out of High School?" unpublished manuscript, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y, 2001; James J. Heckman, Paul A. LaFontaine, and Pedro L. Rodriguez, "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," Working Paper 14044 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008).
  8. Virginia Department of Education, "Board of Education Agenda Item" (www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/meetings/ 2008/01_jan/agenda_items/item_d.pdf. [July 1, 2008]).
  9. GED Testing Service, Policies and Procedures Manual (Washington: General Educational Development Testing Service, 2008).
  10. GED Testing Service, "Uses of the GED Tests with Students Enrolled in Traditional Accredited Secondary Schools," unpublished discussion paper, 1998. The twelve states are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin (personal communication from Margaret Patterson, director of research and psychometrics, GED Testing Service, 2008). In addition to being behind in graduation credits, there are other state-specific criteria that students must meet to be eligible for the GED Option program.
  11. In certain states there are circumstances under which an individual in a GED Option program will actually receive a high school diploma.
  12. Fulton, Missouri, Public Schools, GED Option (www.fulton.k12.mo.us/~Fulton_Academy/GED/q&a.htm [July 27, 2008]). Oregon Department of Education, "Oregon GED Option Program for Selected Secondary Students: Questions and Answers" (www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/certificates/gedinschool/gedqanda.pdf [July 27, 2008]).
  13. Mississippi Department of Education, "State Dropout Prevention Plan" (www.mde.k12.ms.us/Dropout_Prevention/Dropout%20Prevention%20Plan%20-%20Final.pdf [July 27, 2008]).
  14. James J. Heckman and Paul A. LaFontaine, "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," Working Paper 13670 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007).
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Jay P. Greene, "High School Graduation Rates in the United States," Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Civic Report, November 2001; Christopher B. Swanson and Duncan Chaplin, Counting High School Graduates When Graduates Count: Measuring Graduation Rates under the High Stakes of NCLB (Washington: Education Policy Center, Urban Institute, 2003); Christopher B. Swanson, "Who Graduates? Who Doesn't? A Statistical Portrait of Public High School Graduation, Class of 2001" (Washington: Urban Institute Education Policy Center, 2004); Lawrence Mishel and Roy Joydeep, Rethinking High School Graduation Rates and Trends (Washington: Economic Policy Institute, 2006).
  18. Data Quality Campaign, "Data Quality Campaign: Using Data to Improve Student Achievement" (www.dataqualitycampaign.org/ [March 15, 2008]).
  19. Swanson and Chaplin, Counting High School Graduates When Graduates Count (see note 17).
  20. Bridgeland, DiIulio, and Morison, "The Silent Epidemic" (see note 3).
  21. Russell W. Rumberger, "Dropping out of Middle School: A Multilevel Analysis of Students and Schools," American Educational Research Journal 32, no. 3 (1995): 583–625.
  22. Bridgeland, DiIulio, and Morison, "The Silent Epidemic" (see note 3); Russell W. Rumberger, "Why Students Drop out of School," in Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis, edited by G. Orfield (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Education Press, 2004), pp. 131–55.
  23. Jennifer Berktold, Sonya Geis, and Phillip Kaufman, "Subsequent Educational Attainment of High School Dropouts" (Washington: National Center for Education Statistics, Statistical Analysis Report, 1998).
  24. K. L. Alexander, D. R. Entwisle, and N. S. Kabbani, "The Dropout Process in Life Course Perspective: Early Risk Factors at Home and School," Teachers College Record 103, no. 5 (2001): 760–822; R. B. Ekstrom and others, "Who Drops Out of High School and Why? Findings of a National Study," Teachers College Record 87 (1986): 356–73; Pete Goldschmidt and Jia Wang, "When Can Schools Affect Dropout Behavior? A Longitudinal Multilevel Analysis," American Educational Research Journal 36, no. 4 (1999): 715–38; Magnus Lofstrom, "Why Are Hispanic and African-American Dropout Rates So High?" Williams Review 2 (2007): 91–121; Russell W. Rumberger, "Dropping out of Middle School" (see note 21).
  25. Rumberger, "Why Students Drop out of School" (see note 22).
  26. Russell W. Rumberger, "High School Dropouts: A Review of Issues and Evidence," Review of Educational Research 57, no. 2 (1987): 101–21, reports that none of the male dropouts gave pregnancy as the primary reason for leaving school.
  27. K. A. Moore and L. C. Waite, "Early Childbearing and Educational Attainment," Family Planning Perspectives 9 (1977): 220–25.
  28. Joseph V. Hotz, Susan Williams McElroy, and Seth G. Sanders, "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources 40 (2005): 683–715.
  29. Jason M. Fletcher and Barbara L. Wolfe, "Education and Labor Market Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Evidence Using the Timing of Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Fixed Effects," Working Paper 13847 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008).
  30. Goldschmidt and Wang, "When Can Schools Affect Dropout Behavior?" (see note 24); Gary G. Wehlage and Robert A. Rutter, "Dropping Out: How Much Do Schools Contribute to the Problem?" Teachers College Record 87, no. 3 (1986): 374–92.
  31. John Robert Warren and Jennifer C. Lee, "The Impact of Adolescent Employment on High School Dropout: Differences by Individual and Labor-Market Characteristics," Social Science Research 32 (2003): 98–128.
  32. Ralph B. McNeal Jr., "Are Students Being Pulled out of High School? The Effect of Adolescent Employment on Dropping Out," Sociology of Education 70 (July 1997): 206–20. John Robert Warren and Jennifer C. Lee, "The Impact of Adolescent Employment on High School Dropout" (see note 31).
  33. Rumberger, "Why Students Drop out of School" (see note 22).
  34. Ekstrom and others, "Who Drops out of High School and Why" (see note 24); Russell W. Rumberger, "High School Dropouts" (see note 26); Rumberger, "Why Students Drop out of School" (see note 22); Will Jordan, Julia Lara, and James M. McPartland, "Exploring the Complexity of Early Dropout Causal Structures," Report 48 (Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Students, 1994).
  35. Stephen V. Cameron and James J. Heckman, "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy 109 (2001): 455–99.
  36. Robert Haveman and Barbara Wolfe, "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature 33 (1995): 1829–78.
  37. Goldschmidt and Wang, "When Can Schools Affect Dropout Behavior?" (see note 24); Camilla A. Lehr and others, "Essential Tools, Increasing Rates of School Completion: Moving from Policy and Research to Practice" (University of Minnesota: National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, College of Education and Human Development, 2004).
  38. Rumberger, "Why Students Drop out of School" (see note 22).
  39. Russell W. Rumberger and Scott L. Thomas, "The Distribution of Dropout and Turnover Rates among Urban and Suburban High Schools," Sociology of Education 73, no. 1 (2000): 39–67.
  40. Magnus Lofstrom, "Why Are Hispanic and African-American Dropout Rates So High?" (see note 24).
  41. Cory Koedel, "Teacher Quality and Dropout Outcomes in a Large, Urban School District," paper presented at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society of Labor Economists, May 9, 2008, New York, N.Y.
  42. Brian A. Jacob, "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," Review of Economics and Statistics 86, no. 1 (2004).
  43. Thomas S. Dee and Brian A. Jacob, "Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?" Working Paper 12199 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006).
  44. Audrey Amrein and David Berliner, "An Analysis of Some Unintended and Negative Consequences of High-Stakes Testing," unpublished paper, Educational Policy Studies Laboratory, Educational Policy Research Unit, Arizona State University, 2002; John Robert Warren, Krista N. Jenkins, and Rachael B. Kulick, "High School Exit Examinations and State-Level Completion and GED Rates 1975 through 2002," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 28, no. 2 (2006): 131–52.
  45. John Robert Warren and Melanie R. Edwards, "High School Exit Examinations and High School Completion: Evidence from the Early 1990s," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 27, no. 1 (2005): 53–74.
  46. Bruce H. Webster Jr. and Alemayehu Bishaw, "Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data from the 2006 American Community Survey" (Washington: American Community Survey Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, 2007).
  47. The data are for individuals twenty-five years and older with reported earnings. The earnings of high school graduates are likely to be understated since dropouts with a GED are included in this group.
  48. Cecilia Elena Rouse, "The Labor Market Consequences of an Inadequate Education," in The Price We Pay: The Economic and Political Consequences of Inadequate Education, edited by Clive Belfield and Henry M. Levin (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2007).
  49. Ibid.
  50. Ibid.
  51. David M. Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney, "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," Working Paper 12352 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006).
  52. Rouse, "The Labor Market Consequences of an Inadequate Education" (see note 48).
  53. Ibid.
  54. Jane Waldfogel, Irwin Garfinkel, and Brendan Kelly, "Public Assistance Programs: How Much Could Be Saved with Improved Education?" in The Price We Pay: The Economic and Political Consequences of Inadequate Education, edited by Clive Belfield and Henry M. Levin (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2007).
  55. This estimate may not represent a causal relationship between education and welfare participation since no exogenous variation in schooling is used to identify its effect.
  56. Waldfogel, Garfinkel, and Kelly, "Public Assistance Programs: How Much Could Be Saved with Improved Education?" (see note 54).
  57. Peter Muennig, "Health Returns to Education Interventions," in The Price We Pay: The Economic and Political Consequences of Inadequate Education, edited by Belfield and Levin (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2007).
  58. Caroline Wolf Harlow, "Education and Correctional Populations" (Washington: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003).
  59. Lance Lochner and Enrico Moretti, "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review 94 (2004): 1.
  60. Ibid.
  61. National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (www.dropoutprevention.org/ndpcdefault.htm [March 15, 2008]).
  62. Mark Dynarski and Philip Gleason, "How Can We Help? What We Have Learned from Evaluations of Federal Dropout-Prevention Programs," Report for the U.S. Department of Education (Princeton, N.J.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 1998).
  63. Ibid. Dynarski and Gleason go on to say that this result is consistent with what was found by two earlier U.S. Department of Education–sponsored evaluations of other dropout-prevention programs.
  64. Institute of Education Sciences, "Dropout Prevention: Overview," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/dropout/topic/ [March 15, 2008]).
  65. Because participation in dropout-prevention programs is not a random event, simple comparisons of dropout statistics between program participants and nonparticipants are unlikely to provide information on the true effectiveness of programs. In general, program evaluation studies are considered to be "rigorous" if the study design is either a randomized, controlled experiment or is a strong quasi-experimental design.
  66. Institute of Education Sciences, "Dropout Prevention Overview" (see note 64).
  67. A sixth intervention, Financial Incentives for Teen Parents to Stay in School, also showed some positive dropout-reduction results. However, this intervention is part of state welfare programs and thus not a dropout-prevention program per se.
  68. K. A. Larson and Russell W. Rumberger, "ALAS: Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success," in Staying in School. A Technical Report of Three Dropout Prevention Projects for Junior High School Students with Learning and Emotional Disabilities, edited by H. Thornton (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, 1995).
  69. Institute of Education Sciences, "WWC Intervention Report: High School Redirection," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_HS_Redirection_041607.pdf [March 10, 2008]).
  70. Information on the Check & Connect program was largely synthesized from information found on the Check & Connect website at http://ici.umn.edu/checkandconnect/.
  71. Check & Connect, "Check & Connect: A Model for Promoting Students' Engagement with School" (http://ici.umn.edu/checkandconnect/ [July 1, 2008]).
  72. Institute of Education Sciences, "WWC Intervention Report: Check & Connect," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_Check_Connect_092106.pdf [March 15, 2008]).
  73. The information on the career academy model was largely taken from the MDRC evaluation report. See James J. Kemple and Jason C. Snipes, "Career Academies: Impacts on Students' Engagement and Performance in High School" (New York: MDRC, 2000).
  74. James J. Kemple, "Career Academies: Long-Term Impacts on Labor Market Outcomes, Educational Attainment, and Transitions to Adulthood" (New York: MDRC, 2008). We note two additional facts about the career academies evaluation. First, among moderate- to low-risk students, there were no differences in dropout rates or earned high school credits between the academy and non-academy students. Second, a longer-term follow-up study found no differences between academy and non-academy students in terms of high school completion. We note, however, that high school completion in the later study included both receiving a high school diploma and obtaining a GED.
  75. Institute of Education Sciences, "WWC Intervention Report: Career Academies," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_Career_Academies_100506.pdf [March 20, 2008]).
  76. Center for Social Organization of Schools, "Talent Development High Schools" (www.csos.jhu.edu/tdhs/about/model.htm [March 15, 2008]).
  77. Institute of Education Sciences, "WWC Intervention Report: Talent Development High Schools," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_Talent_Development_071607.pdf [March 20, 2008]).
  78. James J. Kemple, Corinne M. Herlihy, and Thomas J. Smith, "Making Progress toward Graduation: Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model" (New York: MDRC, 2005).
  79. C. A. Lehr and others, "Essential Tools: Increasing Rates of School Completion: Moving from Policy and Research to Practice" (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, 2004).
  80. Institute of Education Sciences, "WWC Intervention Report: The Quantum Opportunity Program," What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_QOP_070207.pdf [March 15, 2008]).
  81. We note that an early study of a QOP pilot program did show positive results, but flaws in this study leave one uncertain as to the reliability of the results.
  82. Mark Dynarski and Philip Gleason, "Do We Know Whom to Serve? Issues in Using Risk Factors to Identify Dropouts," a report for the U.S. Department of Education (Princeton, N.J.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 1998).
  83. Ibid.
  84. General Educational Development Testing Service, "1980 GED Statistical Report" (Washington: American Council on Education, 1981); General Educational Development Testing Service, "2006 GED Testing Program Statistical Report" (Washington: American Council on Education, 2007); National Center for Education Statistics, "Digest of Education Statistics: 2006" (U.S. Department of Education, 2007).
  85. Murnane, Willett, and Tyler, "Who Benefits from a GED?" (see note 5).
  86. Ibid.; John H. Tyler, Richard J. Murnane, and John B. Willett, "Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of the GED," Quarterly Journal of Economics 115, no. 3 (2000): 431–68.
  87. New York City Department of Education, "Transfer High Schools" (http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/OMPG/TransferHighSchools/default.htm [July 1, 2008]).
  88. New York City Department of Education, "Young Adult Borough Centers" (http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/OMPG/YouthAdultBoroughCenters/default.htm [July 1, 2008]).
  89. School and enrollment information on New York's transfer high schools and YABCs was provided via personal communication on July 1 and July 2, 2008, with John Duval of the Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation in the New York City Department of Education.
  90. National External Diploma Program, "National External Diploma Program" (https://www.casas.org/home/?fuseaction=nedp.welcome [March 15, 2008]).
  91. In 2008, about $573 million in federal funds were directed toward adult education programs for individuals of all ages who lack a high school diploma. See U.S. Government Office of Management and Budget, "Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2008" (www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/pdf/budget/education.pdf [July 16, 2008]). Unfortunately, there are few rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of the adult education programs toward which these funds are directed.
  92. Cameron and Heckman, "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents" (see note 5); Tyler and Lofstrom, "Is the GED an Effective Route to Postsecondary Education for School Dropouts?" (see note 5).
  93. National Center for Education Statistics, "Digest of Education Statistics: 2006" (U.S. Department of Education, 2007).
  94. Joshua D. Angrist and Alan Krueger, "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?" Quarterly Journal of Economics 106, no. 4 (1991): 979–1014; Philip Oreopoulos, "Should We Raise the Minimum School Leaving Age to Help Disadvantaged Youth? Evidence from Recent Changes to Compulsory Schooling in the United States," in An Economic Framework for Understanding and Assisting Disadvantaged Youth, edited by Jonathan Gruber (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, forthcoming 2009).
  95. Philip Oreopoulos, "Should We Raise the Minimum School Leaving Age to Help Disadvantaged Youth?" (see note 94).