The Extent and Consequences of Risk in U.S. Education
by Deborah Land & Nettie E. Legters — 2002
What factors place a child at risk of academic failure and dropping out of school? In this chapter, we argue that educators, researchers, and policymakers are developing a richer and more complex understanding of the conditions and experiences that lead to negative educational outcomes. In the first section, we describe how thinking about risk in education has begun to shift from identifying risk factors solely in terms of students’ individual and family characteristics to an acknowledgment that substandard teaching and learning environments allow far too many children to fail. In the second section, we examine the scope of risk through an examination of individual/family-level risk indicators. In the third section, we explore school-related risk factors to round out our assessment of risk. We conclude with a brief summary of the extent and consequences of risk of educational failure in the U.S. in which we emphasize the need to focus on the compound nature of risk, specifically interactions between individual/family-level and school-level risk factors.
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