Advertisement

Programs to Increase High School Completion

A Community Guide Systematic Health Equity Review

      Context

      High school completion (HSC) is an established predictor of long-term morbidity and mortality. U.S. rates of HSC are substantially lower among students from low-income families and most racial/ethnic minority populations than students from high-income families and the non-Hispanic white population. This systematic review assesses the effectiveness of programs to increase HSC and the potential of these programs to improve lifelong health among at-risk students.

      Evidence acquisition

      A search located a meta-analysis (search period 1985–2010/2011) on the effects of programs to increase HSC or General Educational Development (GED) diploma receipt; the meta-analysis was concordant with Community Guide definitions and methodologic standards. Programs were assessed separately for the general student population (152 studies) and students who were parents or pregnant (15 studies). A search for studies published between 2010 and August 2012 located ten more recent studies, which were assessed for consistency with the meta-analysis. Analyses were conducted in 2013.

      Evidence synthesis

      The review focused on the meta-analysis. Program effectiveness was measured as the increased rate of HSC (or GED receipt) by the intervention group compared with controls. All assessed program types were effective in increasing HSC in the general student population: vocational training, alternative schooling, social–emotional skills training, college-oriented programming, mentoring and counseling, supplemental academic services, school and class restructuring, multiservice packages, attendance monitoring and contingencies, community service, and case management. For students who had children or were pregnant, attendance monitoring and multiservice packages were effective. Ten studies published after the search period for the meta-analysis were consistent with its findings.

      Conclusions

      There is strong evidence that a variety of HSC programs can improve high school or GED completion rates. Because many programs are targeted to high-risk students and communities, they are likely to advance health equity.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Rostron B.
        • Boies J.
        • Arias E.
        Education reporting and classification on death certificates in the United States.
        National Center for Health Statistics. May 2010; (Series 2(Number 151))
        • U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics
        Percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 through 24 years old (status dropout rate), by sex and race/ethnicity: selected years, 1960 through 2012.
        Digest of Education Statistics. 2013;
        • U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics
        Percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 through 24 years old (status dropout rate), by income level, and percentage distribution of status dropouts, by labor force status and years of schools completed: 1970 through 2012.
        Digest of Education Statistics. 2013;
        • Ahn N.
        Teenage childbearing and high school completion: accounting for individual heterogeneity.
        Fam Plan Perspect. 1994; 26: 17-21
        • Egerter S.
        • Braveman P.
        • Sadegh-Nobari T.
        • Grossman-Kahn R.
        • Dekker M.
        Education matters for health. Issue Brief 6: Education and health.
        Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2009;
        • Ross C.E.
        • Wu C.L.
        The links between education and health.
        Am Sociol Rev. 1995; 60: 719-745
        • Feinstein L.
        • Sabates R.
        • Anderson T.M.
        • Sorhaindo A.
        • Hammond C.
        What are the effects of education on health? Measuring the effects of eduation on health and civic engagement.
        Proceedings of the Copehnagen Symposium. 2006; : 171-354
        • Braveman P.
        • Egerter S.
        • Williams D.R.
        The social determinants of health: coming of age.
        Annu Rev Public Health. 2011; 32: 381-398
        • Lehr C.A.
        • Hansen A.
        • Sinclair M.F.
        • Christenson S.L.
        Moving beyond dropout toward school completion: an integrative review of data based interventions.
        Sch Psychol Rev. 2003; 32: 342-364
        • Dynarski M.
        • Clarke L.
        • Cobb B.
        • Finn J.
        • Rumberger R.
        • Smink J.
        Dropout prevention: a practice guide.
        National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC2008
        • Klima T.
        • Miller M.
        • Nunlist C.
        What Works? Targeted Truancy and Dropout Programs in Middle and High School.
        Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Olympia2009
        • Briss P.
        • Zaza S.
        • Pappaioanou M.
        • et al.
        Developing an evidence-based Guide to Community Preventitive Services—methods.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 35-43
        • Zaza S.
        • Wright-De Agüero L.K.
        • Briss P.A.
        • et al.
        Data collection instrument and procedure for systematic reviews in the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
        Am J Prev Med. 2000; 18: 44-74
        • Fischer K.
        States and individual differences in cognitive development.
        Annu Rev Psychol. 1985; 36: 613-648
        • Lipsey M.W.
        • Wilson D.
        The efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment.
        Am Psychol. 1993; 48: 1181-1209
      1. Guide to Community Preventive Services. Promoting health equity through education programs and policies: high school completion programs. www.thecommunityguide.org/healthequity/education/highschoolcompletion.html. Last updated: July 16, 2014.

        • Hiscock R.
        • Bauld L.
        • Amos A.
        • Fidler J.A.
        • Munafo M.
        Socioeconomic status and smoking: a review.
        Ann NY Acad Sci. 2012; 1248: 107-123
        • Eron L.D.
        • Guerra N.L.
        • Huesmann R.
        Poverty and violence.
        in: Feshbach S. Zagrodzka J. Aggression: Biological, Developmental and Social Perspectives. Plenum, New York1997: 139-154
        • Hahn R.A.
        • Eaker E.
        • Barker N.D.
        • Teutsch S.M.
        • Sosniak W.
        • Krieger N.
        Poverty and death in the United States.
        Int J Health Serv. 1996; 26: 673-690
        • Williams D.R.
        • Sternthal M.
        Understanding racial/ethnic disparities in health: sociological contributions.
        J Health Soc Behav. 2010; 51: S15-S27
        • Wilson S.J.
        • Tanner-Smith E.E.
        • Lipsey M.W.
        • Steinka-Fry K.
        • Morrison J.
        Dropout prevention and intervention programs: effects on school completion.
        Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2011; : 8
      2. World Bank. World Development Indicators. 2014. go.worldbank.org/I358WVLTT0.

      3. Bloom HS, Thompson SL, Unterman R. Transforming the high school experience: how New York City׳s new small schools are boosting student achievement and graduation rates. www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/full_589.pdf.

        • Booker K.
        • Sass T.R.
        • Gill B.
        • Zimmer R.
        The effects of charter high schools on educational attainment.
        J Labor Econ. 2011; 29: 377-415
        • Furgeson J.
        • Gill B.
        • Haimson J.
        • et al.
        National study of charter management organization effectiveness. Charter-school management organizations: diverse strategies and diverse student impacts. Mathematica Policy Research.
        Inc. and Center on Reinventing Public Education. 2012;
        • Lee H.-J.
        • Özgün-Koca S.A.
        • Cristol D.
        An analysis of high school transformation effort from an outcome perspective.
        Curr Iss Educ. 2011; 14: 5-26
        • Landis R.N.
        • Reschly A.L.
        An examination of compulsory school attendance ages and high school dropout and completion.
        Educ Policy. 2011; 25: 719-761
        • Porowski A.
        • Passa A.
        The effect of Communities in Schools on high school dropout and graduation rates: results from a multiyear, school-level quasi-experimental study.
        J Educ Stud Placed Risk. 2011; 16: 24-37
        • Schwerdt G.
        • Weste M.R.
        The impact of alternative grade configurations on student outcomes through middle and high school.
        J Public Econ. 2013; 97: 308-326
        • Mac Iver M.A.
        The challenge of improving urban high school graduation outcomes: findings from a randomized study of dropout prevention efforts.
        J Educ Stud Placed at Risk (JESPAR). 2011; 16: 167-184
        • Flores N.
        • Chu H.
        How does size matter? The impact of the rise of small schools on Latinos and emergent bilinguals in New York City.
        Int J Biling Educ Biling. 2011; 14: 155-170
        • Ford R.
        • Frenette M.
        • Nicholson C.
        • et al.
        Future to discover: post-secondary impacts report.
        Social Research and Demonstration Corporation. 2012;
        • Gottfredson G.
        • Jones E.
        • Gore T.
        Implementation and evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to prevent problem behavior in a disorganized school.
        Prev Sci. 2002; 3: 43-56
      4. U.S. Department of Education. Talent Search Program. 2012. www2.ed.gov/programs/triotalent/index.html.

      5. U.S. Department of Education. Supplemental Educational Services, 21st Century Community Learning Centers. 2012. www2.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/index.html.

      6. The Community Guide. Promoting health equity through education programs and policies: out-of-school-time academic programs. www.thecommunityguide.org/healthequity/education/outofschooltime.html.

        • Stern D.
        • Dayton C.
        • Paik L.
        • Weisberg A.
        • Evans J.
        Combining academic and vocational courses in an integrated program to reduce high school dropout rates: second year results from replications of the California Peninsula Academies.
        Educ Eval Policy Anal. 1988; 10: 161-170
      7. Quint JC, Byndloss DC, Melamud B. Scaling up First Things First: findings from the first implementation year. www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/Scaling%20Up%20First%20Things%20First%20ES.pdf.

      8. U.S. Department of Labor. Job Corps. 2013. www.jobcorps.gov/AboutJobCorps/program_design.aspx.

      9. Communities in Schools. www.communitiesinschools.org/.

        • Huang D.
        • Kim K.S.
        • Marshall A.
        • Perez P.
        Keeping kids in school: an LA’s BEST example—A study examining the long-term impact of LA’s BEST on students’ dropout rates.
        National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA2005
        • Solomon R.
        • Liefeld C.
        Effectiveness of a family support center approach to adolescent mothers: repeat pregnancy and school dropout rates.
        Fam Relat. 1998; 47: 139-144
      10. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. What Works Clearinghouse intervention report: Check & Connect. www.ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/intervention_reports/WWC_Check_Connect_092106.pdf.

        • State of Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau
        An evaluation of third-semester effects of the Wisonsin Learnfare Program: interim report.
        Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Madison, WI1996
      11. Cardenas J, Montecel M, Supik J, Harris R. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth program: dropout prevention strategies for at-risk students. In: Miller BC, Card JJ, Paikoff RL, Peterson JC, editors. Texas Researcher; 1992. p. 111–130.

        • Philliber S.
        • Allen J.P.
        Life options and community service: teen outreach program.
        in: Miller B.C. Card J.J. Paikoff R.L. Peterson J.C. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy: Model Programs and Evaluations. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA1992: 139-155
      12. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. What Works Clearinghouse. Wyman Teen Outreach Program (TOP). www.ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/intervention_reports/wwc_teenoutreach_010609.pdf.

        • Rossi R.
        • DuBois P.
        • McLaughlin D.
        • et al.
        Evaluation of projects funded by the School Dropout Demonstration Assistance program: final evaluation report.
        American Institute of Research, Palo Alto, CA1995
        • Phelan J.C.
        • Link B.G.
        • Diez-Roux A.
        • Kawachi I.
        • Levin B.
        "Fundemental causes" of social inequalities in mortality: a test of the theory.
        J Health Soc Behav. 2004; 45: 265-285
        • Ross C.
        • Mirowsky J.
        The interaction of personal and parental education on health.
        Soc Sci Med. 2011; 72: 591-599
        • Howard B.
        First, do not punish: individual incentives in health policy.
        Virtual Mentor. 2008; 10: 719-723
        • Community Preventive Services Task Force
        High school completion programs recommended to improve health equity.
        Am J Prev Med. 2015; 48: 609-612
      13. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. What Works Clearinghouse. ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/.