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Abstract

Students are dropping out of high school at alarming rates. Reports suggest that between 6,300 and 7,000 high school students drop out daily (Dessoff, 2009; Stanley & Plucker, 2008), and more than 1.3 million students drop out each year (Long-Coleman, 2009; Zehr, 2010). In the United States, nearly one in five individuals has not earned a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree (GED) (Kaufman, Alt, & Chapman, 2004). Every member of society feels the impact of high school dropouts, given the enormous economic and social costs (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2009). For example, over the course of a lifetime, the average high school dropout earns roughly $260,000 less, compared to a high school graduate (Rouse, 2005). Dropouts are also more likely to be arrested or become pregnant during their teenage years (Sum, McLaughlin, & Khatiwada, 2008). Long-Coleman (2009) estimated that dropouts cost society $325 billion in lost wages, tax revenue, and productivity annually.

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