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Mac Iver, Martha and Mattew Messel. The Council of the Great City Schools, Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship Series, vol. 7, Summer 2012. This study examines the relationship between 8th and 9th grade early warning indicators as predictors of graduation outcomes, as well as the relationship between 9th grade indicators and college enrollment outcomes. It suggests early interventions to prevent chronic absence and course failure are crucial to increasing graduation rates. Analyses of September attendance data for first-time 9th graders indicate: 1) though student attendance in September is generally better than attendance over the full year, the two measures are correlated closely; 2) nearly 75 percent of those who missed 2 or more days in September were chronically absent for the entire year; 3) September attendance alone is a stronger predictor of 9th grade course failure than 8th grade attendance, being male, overage for grade, and 8th grade test scores (full year attendance, as expected, is a better predictor than September attendance, but the powerful early warning indicator in September comes in time to intervene and prevent further absences); and 4) positive, personal outreach to students and families in September helps improve attendance and prevent chronic absence.

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