Reducing High School Dropouts: Strategies to Help More Students be College and Career Ready

Reducing High School Dropouts: Strategies to Help More Students be College and Career Ready
Reducing High School Dropouts: Strategies to Help More Students be College and Career Ready


To succeed in today’s economy, young people must complete high school, yet a quarter of the nation’s youth do not earn a high school diploma.  Our nation’s dropout crisis has drawn significant attention and we have made some progress in improving educational attainment for at-risk students. The federal government through School Improvement Grants and the High School Graduation Initiative has worked in tandem with states and districts to address the dropout crisis and this session will assess these efforts to date as well as explore future roles for federal policy.

This interactive forum:

  • Provided the basics around the calculation of high school graduation rates and dropout rates
  • Reviewed the research on effective dropout prevention and recovery strategies and policies
  • Examined the federal initiatives currently being undertaken to address the dropout crisis
  • Explored possible avenues for the federal government to address the dropout crisis including accountability systems that incentivize schools to focus on dropout prevention and recovery


Click here to view the event video!


The presenter, Christopher Swanson, is a national expert on education policy and calculating high school graduation rates.  Chris is currently the director of the EPE Research Center, a division of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week. During the past few years, much of his research has examined the implementation of accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act; in particular, the challenges associated with accurately measuring high school graduation rates. He has been called on by the U.S. Department of Education as well as the Government Accountability Office to advise on issues related to graduation rates. 

The event was designed to provide ample time for interaction with Chris and encouraged participants to come with their questions about understanding graduation rates as well as dropout prevention and recovery.

This event is part of a series of AYPF invitation-only briefings for congressional staff and their colleagues that provide key background knowledge on important education policy issues and enable them to hear from nationally-recognized leaders in education policy, practice, and research.


Christopher B. Swanson is the Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week. As a member of EPE’s senior leadership team, he has responsibilities that include project and product development, strategic planning, fundraising activities, and building relationships with other organizations working to advance American education. Dr. Swanson heads EPE’s research and development division, which includes the Research Center, Library, and Knowledge Services units, as well as the Education Week Press, a book-publishing imprint and a portfolio of digital publications.

From 2005 to 2009, Dr. Swanson served as the Director of the EPE Research Center, which conducts annual policy surveys, collects data, and performs analyses that appear in the Quality Counts, Technology Counts, and Diplomas Count annual reports of Education Week. The center also contributes data and analysis to special coverage in Education Week, the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook, and, hosts live webinars and online chats on research topics, and maintains the Education Counts and EdWeek Maps online data resources.

Dr. Swanson is a frequent commentator on a variety of issues, among them: high school dropout and completion, educational policy and research, standards and accountability, instructional reform, student mobility, and public school choice. His work has been extensively profiled in national and regional media, presented at professional conferences, and published in leading scholarly journals.

Chris Swanson Slides»

Glossary of Terms Related to Dropout Prevention»

Dropout Prevention Resource List»

Presenter Information

Christopher B. Swanson

Vice President, Research & Development

Editorial Projects in Education



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.