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Are two commonly used early warning indicators accurate predictors of dropout for English learner students? Evidence from six districts in Washington state

Region:
Northwest
Description:
This study examined the graduation and dropout rates of current and former English learner students compared to those who had never been English learners in six school districts in the south King County area of Washington state. It also looked at the accuracy of the early warning indicators used to predict dropping out—such as attendance, course failures, and suspensions—for different groups of English learner and non-English learner students. The six districts are part of the Road Map Project, an ambitious cradle-to-career initiative that seeks to double the number of students on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential between 2010 and 2020. As part of the initiative, the districts have been using a common set of early warning indicators since 2011. The authors examined up to eight years of data on a total of 9,595 students who entered high school in 2008/09 in one of the six study districts. This report highlights notable differences in graduation and dropout rates among subgroups of English learner students. It also finds that the early warning indicators used by the six districts were poor predictors of dropout for all students, but particularly for newcomer English learner students. This may be evidence of the importance of selecting and validating indicators specific to the population for which they will be used. Given that the accuracy of the Road Map Project indicators varied for subgroups of English learner students, other states and districts may want to examine the accuracy of their own indicators for different student populations. If early warning indicators are weaker for a specific subgroup of English learner students, then teachers, counselors, and others may want to monitor the needs of that group in other ways.
Publication Type:
Making Connections
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
March 2017