Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

George Batsche


At-Risk Students, Dropout, Warning Indicators


It is important to identify students at-risk for school non-completion as early as possible. Research has demonstrated that data sources such as teacher nomination and individual demographic characteristics are less accurate identification methods of students who are at-risk for not graduating on-time. Instead, the use of early warning systems (EWS) based upon research validated indicators that reliably identify students who are Off-track, or at-risk for not graduating on-time, has been a promising approach. Questions remain though about the relationship of Off-track Status at an earlier time point to Off-track Status at a later time point as well as the relationship between a variety of individual and school-level predictors and Off-track Status. The purpose of this study was to examine student patterns of Off-track (for graduation) Status at two time points each year from sixth grade through the end of 10th grade as determined by a district-implemented EWS. In addition, this study examined factors that were hypothesized to contribute to students becoming off-track for high school graduation and the earliest time that those factors demonstrated influence on an Off-track Status. Individual (e.g., SES Level, Third-Grade Reading scores, etc.) and school-level predictors (e.g., School Rates of Discipline, School Promoting Power, etc.) of Off-track Status were collected through archival data on a cohort of 4,268 sixth-grade students across 15 middle schools and 13 high schools from the 2007/2008 school-year through the 2011/2012 school-year. Significant relationships between individual-level variables (SES Level, Hispanic racial/ethnic designation, Grade Point Average, Office Discipline Referrals and Previous Off-track Status) were found. Implications for research to practice include a focus on early intervention of Off-track Status students and the inclusion of additional variables in a middle and high school EWS. An additional implication for practice is the local customization of EWS through further analyses of predictor sensitivity and specificity as well as examination of specific school-level contributions to increased numbers of Off-track Status students which would allow for refinement of EWS specific to a given population and provide information on schools that may need additional resources to support students.