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One of the major educational challenges in virtually all industrialized nations is ensuring that as many students as possible graduate from upper secondary or high school. For although many countries allow students to leave school prior to completing upper secondary school, a high school diploma is increasingly a minimal requirement for entry into the labor market and for further education. Students who quit school before graduation are referred to as dropouts. This entry discusses the causes and social outcomes of dropping out of school. It then examines some essential elements in programs aimed at preventing students from dropping out.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2013), the average upper secondary graduation rate among all member countries in 2011 was 83% and ranged ...

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