Program Assessment and Review (PAR) is a professional service provided by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N). Since 1986, the NDPC/N has been working to improve opportunities for all young people to fully develop the academic, social, behavioral, work, and life skills needed to graduate from high school and lead productive lives. The NDPC/N developed the PAR process to provide a guide for continuous school improvement with an emphasis on improving student academic achievement and increasing the graduation rate.
The purpose of the PAR process is to provide research-based strategies and solutions along with professional assistance to local schools. The goal is to help develop schools’ capacity for self-directed, continuous school improvement. The PAR process provides a school and community an opportunity, with the guidance of experienced national consultants, to study itself and to make local decisions based on local goals, resources, and conditions. The PAR process is research-based, involves the analysis of local data, includes site interviews and observations, and is managed by local action teams consisting of representatives from the local school and community.
The review includes an analysis of data associated with student demographics; student academic performance, attendance, and discipline; and administrative policies, school curriculum, and school climate. In addition, on-site observations and interviews review school priorities, classroom practices, school resources, community partnerships, parent involvement, and the availability of educational options for youth in at-risk situations. The ultimate consumer of the data and information collected by PAR is the Local Action Team (LAT), which uses the information to develop action plans for the school and community to implement in order to increase the dropout prevention capacity of the school.