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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Does Raising the State Compulsory Attendance Age Achieve the Intended Outcomes?

Many states have raised the compulsory school attendance age to 17 or 18, anticipating that a reduction in dropout, truancy, and discipline problems will more than compensate for the higher costs of educating students longer. This review examines the evidence on whether a higher compulsory school attendance age results in improved student outcomes.

Against this background, this review addresses the following research questions:
  • What changes have occurred in dropouts, truancy, and disciplinary actions in states that raised their compulsory school attendance age during 2002–11?
  • What broader social outcomes have been identified in studies using national datasets?
  • How have these states measured changes in these expected outcomes?
Publication Type:
What's Known
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
December 2013