The purpose of this study was to examine student characteristics related to completing high school within four years, with particular emphasis on graduation outcomes for male and English language learner students. The authors looked at a cohort of students who began grade 9 in the 2007/08 school year in four Oregon districts. Factors related to three key graduation outcomes were analyzed: dropping out within four years of starting grade 9, graduating on time (within four years), and staying in school but not graduating on time. Findings confirmed previous studies showing that attendance and grade point average (GPA) in grades 8 and 9 are significantly associated with graduating on time. In addition, race/ethnicity and achievement on standardized tests are less predictive of graduating on time after other factors are considered. When the influence of demographic, behavioral, and academic characteristics were considered at the same time, only gender, status as an English language learner, and attendance and GPA in grades 8 and 9 were associated with graduation outcomes. Practitioners and policymakers concerned with early identification of students at-risk of not graduating on time could consider these early warning indicators: grade 8 attendance rates below 80 percent; grade 8 GPA of less than 2.0; grade 9 attendance rates below 80 percent, and grade 9 GPA of less than 2.0.
Graduation and Dropout Rates