risk of dropping out and for supporting them based on their level of risk.

An important implication of this recommendation is that the interface for the data systems should be exceptionally user-friendly, enabling teachers and administrators to access information that will be useful to them in the course of usual educational practice.

Finally, we think the federal government should play an active role in this area by collecting data on the precursors of dropping out. This would allow for indicators of progress toward graduation at the national level and enable comparative studies on early indicators of dropout across states and localities. We therefore recommend:

RECOMMENDATION 7-4: The federal government should collect aggregate-level indicators of student progress toward high school graduation at the federal, state, and local levels. Such aggregate-level indicators should be collected by grade level in the middle grades (6 through 8) and by year during high school (first year, second year, etc.). These indicators should include variables such as the number of students missing 10 percent or more of school days, average number of days absent, average number of course failures, number of students failing one course or more, mean GPA, and indicators of behavior problems.

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