ERIC Number: ED257032
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Raising Standards and Retaining Students: The Impact of the Reform Recommendations on Potential Dropouts.
McDill, Edward L.; And Others
This paper examines the potential influence of school reform policies on the high school dropout rate. We summarize a diverse set of reports on American education which recommend increasing academic standards in schools as a means for improving secondary school performance. We also describe our understanding of the processes by which youngsters drop out of school. In light of these diverse literatures, we show that raising standards may have both positive and negative consequences for potential dropouts. On the positive side, raising standards may encourage greater student effort and time on schoolwork, and thus lead to higher levels of achievement. On the negative side, raising the standards may increase academic stratification within schools and cause more school failure, with no apparent remedies. Because of these potential negative consequences of raising standards, we assess the literature on intervention programs designed to reduce delinquent behavior and school dropout. We suggest that alterable organizational characteristics of schools can help buffer the potentially negative consequences of raising academic standards for students at risk of dropping out. We conclude by calling for rigorous evaluations of the implementation and measurable effects of school reform efforts, in the context of a "full enrollment model" of program effectiveness. (An 18-page bibliography concludes the paper.) (Authors)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for Social Organization of Schools.