Is educational status predictable?

The March 2008 issue of School Psychology Quarterly includes data from a 20-year study of kids growing up in high-poverty Chicago neighbourhoods. They looked at a number of factors from birth to adolescence in an effort to predict whether students would graduate from high school and years of completed education. The two biggest predictors of educational attainment were attendance at a "magnet school" (a high school with specialized programs / curricula) and youth expectations of whether or not they would attend college.

Four factors predicted lower levels of attainment: school absences, failing a grade in Elementary school, frequent changes of schools, and juvenile arrest. The fact that kids who were held back early in their education were less likely to complete high school years later is a strong argument against retention.

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