Increased Risk Seen For High Performers

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A study of dropouts in seven Texas districts has led researchers to the surprising conclusion that high-performing students may be at increasing risk of leaving school early.

The findings, presented at a recent conference at Texas A&M University, indicated that pupils who were most frequently absent from school were also likely to have scored well on standardized tests.

In three of the districts, researchers said, the majority of no-show students were enrolled in regular or advanced academic programs, rather than remedial or vocational-education classes.

And a racial breakdown of no-show students in four of the districts found little evidence that minorities are dropping out in disproportionate numbers compared with more affluent white students, researchers said.

"The fastest-growing area of dropouts is in the middle class," commented Dale Mann, a political scientist at Columbia University who participated in the conference.

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