Use data systems to identify individual students at high risk of dropping out.
A critical first step for preventing dropouts is for the school leaders to examine such data as graduation rate, attendance, overage and undercredited students, and students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and to look at these data disaggregated by race and gender. In this way, the school can better understand the scope of the problem.
School leaders and teachers can use data to help prevent students from falling off track and to intervene immediately if students do fall off track. Looking at the data on student absences, grade retention, low academic achievement, and behavior problems can tell a school how many students are at risk of dropping out. If the numbers are very large, the school should consider adopting schoolwide changes and/or targeted programs for individual students who are at the highest risk of dropping out.