Education is in something a Catch-22. If they have standards, there will be dropouts among people who don't want to do the work to reach the minimum levels. If they don't have standards, they are just an assembly line and that is bad for teacher morale.
Because who is going to get blamed if students don't succeed? Teachers.
Raising state-mandated math and science course graduation requirements may increase high school dropout rates without a meaningful effect on college enrollment or degree attainment, according to a new paper which finds that high school dropout rates increased as states mandated more math and science coursework, reaching 11.41 percent when students were required to take six math and science courses, compared to 8.6 percent for students without a requirement.
Results also varied by gender, race, and ethnicity, with the dropout rate for some groups increasing by as much as 5 percentage points.
"Our research suggests that many students were ill-prepared for the tougher standards, and ultimately failed to graduate," said co-author William F. Tate. "Going forward, state policymakers must understand that you can't do math and science courses if you are not in school."
For students exposed to higher math and science graduation requirements who do graduate, there was no across-the-board boost in college enrollment or degree attainment, at least in the short term.
While researchers did not find any overall association between higher CGRs and subsequent college enrollment and degree attainment, they did find some differences in subgroups based on sex and race/ethnicity.
Specifically, higher CGRs were associated with a decrease in the likelihood that black women and Hispanic men and women would enroll in college after graduating from high school. However, higher CGRs were associated with an increase in the likelihood that Hispanics and non-migrant black women who enrolled in college would earn a degree. (In this case, non-migrants refers to students who were born in the state in which they attended high school.)
To examine the effects of state-mandated CGRs on educational attainment, researchers looked at student outcomes in 44 states where CGRs were mandated in the 1980s and 1990s, utilizing data from the U.S. Census, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Education Commission of the States. The researchers used individual-level data to examine how factors such as sex, race/ethnicity, and interstate migration might influence how CGRs affect educational attainment.
"Policymakers must anticipate unintended consequences from more demanding content and more rigorous requirements," said Andrew D. Plunk. "We should also rethink what it means to be an at-risk student. To be effective, these measures will likely require academic and social support for a broad range of students, as well as change at the K-8 level."
Source: American Educational Research Association