REL West Research Digest


PUBLICATION DATE

August 2013

The U.S. high school graduation rate increased by five percent between 2006/07 and 2009/10, from 73.2 to 78.2 percent. While that’s good news, roughly a quarter of the nation’s students still don’t graduate in four years, if at all. And some longstanding equity issues persist.

For example, the 2011 graduation rates for students with disabilities and students learning English are as low as 25 to 30 percent in some states.
Graduation rates for the four West Region states—Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah—are lower than the national average, overall and/or among student subgroups.

Addressing the issue is particularly challenging because these states also have some of the lowest rates of per-pupil spending in the country. Two of the eight alliances of education stakeholders with whom REL West currently works have set a broad outcome goal of reducing the dropout rate in their states: Dropout Prevention Alliance for Utah Students with Disabilities and Nevada Education Research Alliance.

Although they are approaching the problem in different ways, both alliances have committed to using databased information to make decisions as they work toward goals. REL West is providing the alliances several kinds of technical assistance and research support, from inventorying districts’ existing databases, to customizing and delivering training on data collection tools and methods, to conducting studies to address critical questions.

Read more about the work of these alliances in this issue of the REL West Research Digest. The issue also contains links to useful publications on dropout prevention from RELs and other education organizations.