administrators to access information that will be useful to them in the course of usual educational practice.

We also note that it will be important for states and districts to evaluate the impact of any policy interventions that are implemented to determine their effectiveness and to consider any unintended consequences associated with the policies. The studies we discussed in this chapter identified precursors that were related to dropping out, but none of these variables were prefect predictors. Thus, it is important that any policy measures that are implemented achieve the appropriate balance between over-identifying students at risk and under-identifying students who might be at risk for dropping out. The problems associated with under-identifying are clear—students who need an intervention are missed. However, problems can also result from targeting students for intervention who are not in need of it, such as by over responding when a student misses a few days of school. Such a policy can be counter-productive. Careful evaluations of policies and programs can help to ensure that they are effective and appropriately target the students most in need of intervention.



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