Students at Risk

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Students at Risk]

    • 00:10

      ALEX J. BOWERS: I'm Alex Bowers.I'm an associate professor of Education Leadershipat Teachers College, Columbia Universityin New York City. [Alex J. Bowers, Associate Professorin Education Leadership, Teachers College,Columbia University] In this tutorial,about students at risk, I'll be discussing,how do we define students at risk,how do we understand which variables predict whichstudents are going to be at risk,the difference between cross-sectional andlongitudinal variables that predictwhich students are at risk, and thenhow do we help students who are at riskfind success in their school environments.

    • 00:36

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: [Which students are at risk?]So how do we predict which students are at risk?There are two types of variables whenwe think about how to understand which studentsare at risk of something like dropping out of high school.The first kind of variable are the variablesthat are outside the control of the student, their family,and the school, such as whether or notthe student's family is in povertyor the student has a sibling who has also dropped outof high school.

    • 01:03

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: But there are other kinds of variablesthat are under the control of the student,such as their grades, their test scores,whether or not they attend school at a high rate,whether or not they behave well in schooland have a good discipline record.These are the types of variables thatcan really help us understand and predictwhich students are at risk.

    • 01:24

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: [Cross-sectional and longitudinal risk factors]There are two types of predictorsfor at-risk status, one being cross-sectional predictorsand one being longitudinal.The Chicago On-Track Indicator isthe best cross-sectional indicatorof at-risk status of a student not graduatingfrom high school on time.For the Chicago On-Track Indicator,we take variables for students whoare in their freshman year in ninth gradeand look at whether or not those students have faileda specific core subject, be it either mathematics or English,whether or not they have low attendance,and whether or not they have low units,or if they're behind on credits in matriculatingthrough ninth grade.

    • 02:07

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: When all of these variables come together,this gives us the ability to be able to predict which studentsare going to be on track to graduateon time versus which ones are at risk of failing to graduate.The key with these longitudinal indicatorsis that we track the student data over time.Now, in recent research around longitudinal indicatorsin some of my work particularly, I'vebeen able to show that just watchingstudent grades over the first three semesters of high schoolis enough to be able to understand and predict over90% of the students who will drop out.

    • 02:42

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: And so just being able to understandthese types of longitudinal trajectories, be they grades.But also, other researchers have shownthat math test scores over time, as well as discipline reports,as long as we track them over timeand begin to understand that there aredifferent types of students whose grades, discipline, aswell as standardized test scores,can go up or down in different ways,that we can watch these different students over time.

    • 03:09

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: We can use this type of longitudinal trajectoryto be able to understand and interveneearly to be able to know which students to helpin different ways.So the point about using longitudinal datais looking over time at different student datatrajectories, be they grades, discipline reports, behavior,test scores, being able to see these different typesof trajectories, especially in either elementary schoolor early in high school, whether or nota student is rising over time in these types of data,whether or not they're going down,whether or not they're high or steady, gives usa window into understanding the different behaviorsthat these students are exhibitingand how we might be able to intervene to help them stayon track to graduate on time.

    • 03:55

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: [What action is taken when students are at risk?]So how do we understand and help studentsthat we've identified as being at risk?In the research to date, we've beenable to identify that there are basically two different typesof students who are at risk.And these two different types fall into categoriesthat one is the type of student thatis a traditional type of student that we think of as at risk.

    • 04:19

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: And a different type is a type that we usuallydon't think of as a student as being at risk.In the first type, in my researchI call this a jaded type of student.Or when I'm talking about studentswho are at risk of dropping out, Icall them a jaded type of dropout.These are the types of students who we traditionallythink of when we think of studentswho fail to finish high school.

    • 04:43

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: These students do not like to be at school.They report that they don't feel that their teachers arefair to them.And they usually hold outside jobsand attempt to find different waysto connect outside of school.These students usually have low or lowering grades over time.And these students usually need to have interventionsthat help them re-identify with schooland understand the point of school and why they're there.

    • 05:13

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: So these types of interventions for the jaded type of dropoutor jaded type of at-risk student couldinclude mentoring, as well as helpingthem understand the point of schooling,and how moving along through schooland matriculating on time can help them find the jobsand careers that they're most suited forand could do the best at, especiallyaround the types of things that they want to be the best at.

    • 05:39

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: The second group of at-risk studentsare the quiet students.These students have low but increasing grades over time,such as in the first three semesters of high school.These students like school.They like their teachers, and they like their subjects.However, schools usually aren't able to identify these studentsbecause their grades are rising slowly over time,and they don't have the usual discipline report problemsthat the jaded students have.

    • 06:03

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: So these are students who need tutoring,and they need academic supports thathelp them with the academic content of schooling.And so what we've learned over the last few yearsin at-risk research is that there are different typesof students who are at risk.At-risk status is not a monolithic categorythat students just fall into.

    • 06:24

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: There are different types of students who are at risk,and we need to address their different needsin very specific ways.So the jaded students do need these different waysof reconnecting with schooling, while the quiet typesof students need academic supports.In summary, what we've covered in this tutorialis defining at-risk status, how dowe predict which students are goingto be at risk, the difference between cross-sectional andlongitudinal indicators, and how do wehelp different types of students who are at riskfind success in school based on their indicators.

    • 06:58

      ALEX J. BOWERS [continued]: And perhaps the most important thingto take away from this informationabout at-risk status is that there are different typesof students who are at risk.And that through looking at this data over time,we can begin to understand and seethe individual students in the dataand try to help support them in their individual needs.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Students at Risk

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Abstract

Professor Alex Bowers examines the factors that affect at-risk students and the types of students who are likely to be "at risk."

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Students at Risk

Professor Alex Bowers examines the factors that affect at-risk students and the types of students who are likely to be "at risk."

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