Dropout rates and high-stakes testing receive their share of media attention, but the likely connection between the two is rarely discussed outside of education circles. Yet much recent research and anecdotal evidence suggest at least a correlation between high-stakes testing of the sort mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and dropout rates. Students, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, appear to be dropping out of school earlier and in much greater numbers than previously believed, and high-stakes testing may be a leading cause. Moreover, schools overestimate graduation rates, and NCLB actually provides incentives for schools to encourage students, particularly students expected to perform poorly, either to drop out or transfer before taking their proficiency exams.


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pp. 76-80
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