ERIC Number: ED273570
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Raising Standards and Reducing Dropout Rates: Implications of Research for Recent Secondary School Reform Proposals.
Hamilton, Stephen F.
Changes that might reduce dropout rates as high school graduation standards are raised are discussed. A review of research on successful dropout prevention programs reveals four common characteristics: (1) they separate potential dropouts from other students; (2) they have strong vocational components; (3) they utilize out-of-class learning; and (4) they are intensive in the sense of providing small group or individualized instruction, having low student/teacher ratios, and offering more counseling than ordinary schools. A brief examination of West German secondary schools, which emphasize the "dual system" of apprenticeship combined with part-time vocational schooling, helps identify and elaborate upon issues related to the first three characteristics. While differentiation among students may be a troubling practice because it can harm the achievements and self-evaluations of students identified as slower than average, the probable consequences of assignment to a lower group can be favorable. The practical, real life quality of vocational education is more comfortable and effective for marginal students than abstract academic education. Vocational education or manual training can serve as a vehicle for teaching academic and general skills rather than specific competence for employment. The assumption found in recent secondary education reform proposals that the classroom is always the best environment for learning is not supported by research. Marginal students who have not been successful in classrooms need planned opportunities to learn in other settings. (JD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.
Note: Paper prepared for the American Educational Research Association Project: Research Contributions for Educational Improvement. For related documents, see ED 257 032, SP 026 402-404, and SP 026 406-411.