Potential for Significant Reductions in Dropout Rates: Analysis of an Entire 3rd Grade State Cohort
56 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2010 Last revised: 6 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 5, 2012
This study follows the entire class of 1997-98 first-time 3rd grade students who stayed in the North Carolina public school system until either dropping out or graduating. Of those 68,401 students, 19.3% (or 13,185) dropped out. A series of logits are used to predict probabilities of dropping out of high school on determinants such as math and reading test scores, absenteeism, suspension, and retention, at each of the following grade levels: 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 9th. The same cohort and variables are then used to estimate benefits to the 15,737 students admitted to a special program ostensibly for academically and intellectually gifted children. I estimate the probability of admission for schoolmates with similar ability in math and reading to be substantially higher for those from upper income households. Finally, I conclude that extending similar resources to an equal number of high-risk students, as determined by their 3rd grade predicted probabilities, would lead to a 25% reduction in the total cohort dropout rate, and that even dividing existing resources between the two groups could cut dropout rates by half that.
Keywords: dropouts, dropout rates, state longitudinal data, data use, achievement gaps, test scores, gifted programs, north carolina
JEL Classification: C81, D63, H75, I21, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation