The label “at-risk” gained prominence in the taxonomy of educational research in the 1980s subsequent to the publication of the commissioned report, A Nation at Risk. This document both documented and lamented the status of the U.S. educational system in comparison to the school systems of other industrialized nations. America's schoolchildren, it argued, were falling behind children in other technologically rich countries. Years after the publication of that landmark report, the at-risk label has been more liberally applied as a moniker to describe certain types of students. A politically loaded term, at-risk is often used as a code word for various groups of less fortunate and dispossessed students in the United States. At-risk students are most likely to be absent from school, fail a grade ...

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