How a student exits school may have an impact on their experiences after leaving school. For example, for the Class of 2005 in Indiana (IN), those graduating with a regular diploma were most likely to have transitioned successfully while those students who had reached maximum age were the least likely (IN). Identifying these patterns and finding out what may be causing them can help state and local staff to modify programs or policies to target the special needs of each group.
|Guiding Questions for Analysis of Exit Status Differences|
|To assist with analysis of variations in outcomes for students depending on how they exited school, states can use the following guiding questions as a framework.|
|√||How do post-school outcomes differ for youth by how they exited school (exit status)?
|√||Overall, which type of exit from school is least likely to lead to successful post-school outcomes and which type of exit is most likely?|
|√||What happens to dropouts after they leave school? Do they get a GED, pursue further education, connect to adult service agencies, or get a job? (NY, TX)|
1The following staff provided graphics included in this section: Adam Bauserman, Ball State Univeristy, Indiana (IN). Graphics included are derived from actual state data or, if state data were not available, prototypes were developed for the purposes of this guide. The following staff from other states also made contributions to this section, as noted in parenthesis after relevant text by state abbreviation: Karen Rabren and George Hall at Auburn University in Alabama (AL); Teresa Grossi, Indiana University (IN); Doris Jamison, Joanne LaCrosse, Wendy Latimer, and Cynthia Wilson with the New York State Department of Education (NY); Debby Norris and Carla Johnson with the Texas Department of Education (TX); and Cinda Johnson and Lisa Scheib at Seattle University in Washington State (WA).
Unless data is based on a representative sample, collected through a rigorous research design, and analyzed using appropriate statistics, only tentative conclusions can be drawn. In the absence of these, however, information gathered can, when included with data from other sources, serve as a starting point for developing improvement plans and activities.
When analyzing the impact of a student's exit status on post-school outcomes, it is often helpful to develop visual displays to make trends easier to identify. Figure 1 illustrates trends across school leavers in Indiana, based on how they exited school, whether with a regular diploma, a Certificate of Completion, by reaching maximum age, or by dropping out.
Source: Data are from the Wisconsin Post High School Outcomes Survey for Individuals with Disabilities of 2005-06 school leavers (exiters), surveyed in the spring of 2007, M. Kampa and L. Gulczynski, CESA #11, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2007.
Once patterns are identified in outcomes by exit status, states and LEAs can consider modifying practices or policies to assist different groups to achieve better post-school outcomes and target resources accordingly. Ways that exit status patterns shaped improvement activities in three of the contacted states are described below.