Connecting Entrance and Departure: The Transition to Ninth Grade and High School Dropout
Much of the literature on school dropout implies a randomness to the timing of when leaving school becomes more appealing than staying. In this paper, we examine how one crisis point in urban students’ educational careers – the transition to high school – affects the likelihood of dropping out. We find that despite an extensive set of pre-high school controls for family, achievement, aspirations, school engagement, and peer relationships, ninth grade outcomes add substantially to our ability to predict dropout. The importance of the ninth grade year suggests that reducing the enormous dropout rates in large cities will require attention to the transition to high school.