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This paper outlines two approaches for improving outcomes for students at risk for academic failure. Both take a systemic approach to the problem by focusing on how specific circumstances create a reality of failure for many students. One school analyzed factors related to retention/promotion decisions and determined that four factors directly affected eventual student success: teacher beliefs in student's ability to succeed with intervention, student maturational level, parent support, and academic ability. Prior to the review, they based retention on poor attendance, lack of reading skills, and/or lack of math skills. Another school system investigated student records to determine why students had dropped out over the past 10 years. They found that third grade and seventh grade were two hot spots that should be areas of concern for school staff. Approximately half of students who eventually dropped out were retained or had significant difficulty in third grade, and 90 percent of those who dropped out failed or experienced significant difficulty in seventh grade. Based on this information, local schools then developed and implemented strategies to enhance success and reduce the dropout rate, including grade level teams, block scheduling, success rooms, looping teachers, and an accelerated school model. (Contains 13 references.) Contains 13 references. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Failure, Dropout Prevention, Dropouts, Elementary Secondary Education, Grade Repetition, High Risk Students, Parent Participation, Student Educational Objectives, Student Promotion, Students, Teacher Expectations of Students

Autor: Freeman, G.; Gum, M.; Blackbourn, J. M.


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