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Characteristics and education outcomes of Utah high school dropouts who re-enrolled

Region:
West
Description:
While numerous studies have examined the national dropout crisis, comparatively little is known about students who drop out but later return to high school. Following a cohort of students expected to graduate from Utah public schools in 2011 after four years of high school, this report describes the extent of dropout and reenrollment statewide; how dropout and reenrollment rates differed by demographic characteristics; how academic progress differed for re-enrollees prior to leaving school compared to students who graduated without an interruption in enrollment and dropouts who did not return; and the final high school outcomes of dropouts who came back to school. Findings indicate that while three-fourths of the students in the 2011 graduating cohort earned a diploma in four years, about a fifth of the students dropped out and, among them, about a fifth returned to school by 2011. Students with certain demographic characteristics were more likely to drop out and less likely to reenroll, such as Black students and English learner students, putting them at particular risk for not graduating. The percentage of dropouts who reenrolled decreased with each year of school, but some re-enrollees still earned a diploma. Among those who had dropped out and reenrolled by 2011, 26 percent graduated on time with the cohort. Among those who dropped out and reenrolled by 2013—extending the analysis two years beyond the conventional four years of high school—the graduation rate for re-enrollees increased to 30 percent. Results show that while dropping out is not necessarily a permanent outcome, re-enrollees as a group are at risk for poor graduation outcomes. Identifying and supporting dropouts who return for another chance to graduate can boost their chances to earn a diploma.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
November 2016
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