Focuses on how dropout recovery programs seek to engage and teach participants, identifies implementation challenges and how to overcome them, and explores implications for policymakers, program practitioners, and researchers.

“To inform policy and practice, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education sponsored a study that examined six purposively selected dropout recovery programs. The six programs...included three that prepared participants for a GED, two that prepared them for a high school diploma, and one that provided both GED and high school diploma options. All of these programs also offered participants some preparation for postsecondary education, training, or assistance finding jobs. Drawing on site visit interviews as well as outcome data, this report presented findings on five topics: (1) program goals and partners, (2) admissions and attendance policies, (3) instructional approaches and academic outcomes, (4) methods used to address participants’ personal issues, and (5) strategies to prepare participants for postsecondary education and jobs. The report concluded with some observations about issues facing policymakers and practitioners and with questions for future studies” (p.ix). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Bring Them Back, Move Them Forward: Case Studies of Programs Preparing Out-of-School Youths for Further Education and Careers

Major Findings & Recommendations

• "Though the programs were able to cultivate partners to help students achieve program outcome objectives, maintaining these partnerships required substantial effort" (p.9). • “Programs sought to identify and admit participants who have the potential to succeed and keep out those who might threaten their success. Distinguishing these two groups was challenging and required some judgment on the part of program staff. Any single decision rule carried some risks” (p.17). • “Programs sought to address students’ diverse learning needs, but resources constrained the extent of individualized instruction” (p.19). • "The programs intended to help students with a variety of personal issues but had difficulty addressing the most serious problems" (p.23). • “Programs helped participants enroll in postsecondary programs and secure jobs, but program impacts and participants’ long-term prospects remain uncertain” (p.27). • “As policymakers, foundations, and program managers seek to enhance dropout recovery programs, they should consider ways to address three key challenges: (1) providing most dropouts with access to some dropout recovery program; (2) addressing participants’ diverse academic needs, personal issues, and goals; and (3) determining how program graduates are faring in postsecondary programs and jobs” (p.35). (Abstractor: Author)