Dropout Indicators

Listed below are the common variables found in the research that identify potential dropouts:

  • Poor attendance
  • Low grade point average
  • Low standardized test composite scores
  • Number of grade retentions
  • Number of discipline referrals
  • Educational level of parent
  • Special program placement
  • Free/reduced lunch program
  • Number of school moves (transfers)
  • Low reading and math scores
  • Ethnic/gender distinctions
  • Language spoken in the home
  • Number of suspensions
  • Interest in school
  • Participation in extracurricular activities
  • Pregnancy/teen parent
  • Number of counseling referrals
  • Family status (single parent family, family size)


Wells, S., Bechard, S., and Hamby, J.V. (1989). How to Identify At-Risk Students. Clemson, SC: National Dropout Prevention Center.

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