State Education Department
Administration of the Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention Program
In the early 1980s, New York State had one of the highest high
school dropout rates in the nation. In 1984 the State Legislature
established the Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention
Program, in which additional State aid was given to the school
districts with the lowest attendance rates. This aid was to be
used to fund activities that would improve attendance rates and
reduce dropout rates.
We examined the administration of this program by the Department.
We found that, since the program's inception, the statewide attendance
rate had increased from 90.3 percent to 91.6 percent and the statewide
dropout rate had decreased from 5 percent to 4 percent. However,
we noted that the effectiveness of the program could be enhanced
if certain improvements were made in program administration. For
example, some school districts did not identify how attendance
and retention rates would be improved or how much improvement
was needed for the program to be considered successful. In addition,
several districts did not report their attendance and retention
rates to the Department. We made a number of recommendations aimed
at strengthening program administration.