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We know that half of the 500,000 kids who drop out of school every year come from just 12 percent of the nation’s high schools or 1,700 “dropout factories.” A comprehensive study from Johns Hopkins University found that students who are most at risk of dropping out of school can be identified as early as middle school through key indicators – poor attendance, unsatisfactory behavior and course failure in math and English. When any one of these off-track indicators is seen in a child as early as the sixth grade, that child has only a 10 percent to 20 percent likelihood of graduating from high school.

Research on America’s high school dropout crisis:
























Laying Tracks to Graduation

August 2014
William Corrin, Susan Sepanik (MDRC)
Aracelis Gray, Felix Fernandez, Ashley Briggs, Kathleen K. Wang (ICF International)



Building A GradNation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

April 2014
Robert Balfanz, John M. Bridgeland, Joanna Hornig Fox, Jennifer L. DePaoli, Erin S. Ingram, Mary Maushard



Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

February 2013
Robert Balfanz, John M. Bridgeland, Mary Bruce, and Joanna Hornig Fox


Overcoming the Poverty Challenge to Enable College and Career Readiness for All: The Crucial Role of Student Supports

February 2013
Robert Balfanz


The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation’s Public Schools

May 2012
Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes



Re-Authorizing ESEA: The Need for Federal Guideposts, Guardrails, and Catalysts

February 2012
Robert Balfanz
Testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and the Workforce, hearing on the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act
See video here


On Track for Success: The Use of Early Warning Indicator and Intervention Systems to Build a Grad Nation

November 2011
Robert Balfanz, Mary Bruce, John M. Bridgeland, Joanna Hornig Fox



Doing More with Less: Case Studies on the Impact of National Service

Stella Tran, Katie Theriault, Kelley Kreitz, Andrew Wolk



Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

Robert Balfanz, John B. Bridgeland, Joanna Hornig Fox, Laura A. Moore



Beyond the Indicators: An Integrated School-Level Approach to Dropout Prevention

August 2009
Martha Abele Mac Iver and Douglas Mac Iver



Graduating America: Meeting the Challenge of Low Graduation-Rate High Schools

July 2009
Robert Balfanz, Cheryl Almeida, Adria Steinberg, Janet Santos and Joanna Hornig Fox



What Your Community Can Do to End its Dropout Crisis: Learnings from Research and Practice

May 2007
Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins University



Locating the Dropout Crisis: Which High Schools Produce the Nation’s Dropouts? Where Are They Located? Who Attends Them?

September 2004
Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters, Johns Hopkins University