Historical Context

Statistical research shows that one-third of most American students are labeled as at-risk for academic failure, with dropping out of school being the main result of this failure.

Historically, an extreme amount of pressure is placed on our schools to raise test scores, with very little attention paid to ensuring that students graduated. When the Bush Administration passed No Child Left Behind in 2002, they took a major step toward dropout accountability by instituting the Dropout Prevention Act within the law.

The grants that come from this act are awarded for up to 60 months to local education agencies (LEA's) and state education agencies (SEA's) to support those agencies in student dropout prevention and reentry efforts for students that have dropped out. These grants can be used for the following:
- The early and continued identification of students at risk of not graduating.
- Identifying and encouraging youth who have left school without graduating to reenter and graduate.
- Implementing other comprehensive approaches.
- Implementing transition programs to help the successful transition from middle school to high school.

An example of one program that was used as a model is the Project Success Program that was implemented at Bainbridge High School in Georgia. Students that enroll in the program are/have:
-typically economically disadvantaged.
-scored below the 25th percentile on a standardized test.
-received a grade of "D" or below in a vocational class.
-in need of support services.

The Project Success initiative focuses on student advancement in a vocational field, while also remediating any deficiencies that the student has in reading, mathematics, or language.

Moreover, the stress of this act is to reach students at the onsite of any at-risk behavior, specifically lower standardized test scores, as research suggests that the gap between standardized test scores and classroom performance only increases with time.