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. 94-S-48