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Well targeted data collection to prevent dropout

The present tool describes the most important data that supposed to be gathered specifically as part of a dropout prevention activity. Collecting data is a process that goes along the student’s school career from his or her entry till his or her graduation or dropout or shift to another school. The following short introduction will show some reasons why to collect and monitor data in the school.

Collecting data is meant for supporting the actual work with individual students instead of only widening databases that are never in use.

In the present document the most important features are collected. For further introduction to data gathering see Resource Pool data gathering element which contains samples to collect data too. Considering data collection the most important is transparency, actuality and regularity. Furthermore local level data gathering has to be built on the needs and issues of the local school community. Local level responsible and methods should also be decided and unnecessary extra work besides the obligatory statistics should be avoided. Teachers supposed to involve peer professionals inside or outside of the school to create a local system that the best responds local needs and contributes to the support of student at risk. 

What kind of data exist:

Besides quantifiable data one can collect qualitative information by surveys or interviews to map students’ opinions and difficulties. 

The most important data in dropout prevention

It is regulated by law in all countries what kind of data supposed to be collected and who can have access to these information. According to international research the most common person related data are the age, gender, social background, parents’ educational attainment, nationality/citizenship, migrant background, mother tongue, place of living. Concerning school career the most important are grade repetition, absenteeism (see tool “Absenteeism” for further ideas), school career, attainment, special education needs. Some subjects can serve as especially useful presage: so as the grade from Maths and Literature and Grammar. As a conclusion it is important to see these results more than just a subject attainment: they can predict future dropout, what may be prevented with timely interventions.

Internationally not solved yet the problem of mixing final dropouts and those who only change school in statistics. To avoid this problem and get a clear picture on the number of actual dropouts, communication between schools and some follow up would be necessary. Individual teachers could make this follow up activity for themselves regarding their students. As a next step the teacher can build a strategy on how to avoid further dropout based on the qualities of the already left students.

Teacher should involve other colleagues in this process. 

User’s guide, equipments:

  • excel sheet, computer

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ESLplus - European Learning Space on Early School Leaving

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