Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Alternative Education

About Alternative Education

Definition of Alternative Education
Common Elements of Alternative Education
Factors that Place Students At Risk
Frequently Asked Questions and Promising Practices

Factors that Place Students At Risk

There are many factors that may place students at risk - including school, student, community, and family related factors. The following list was adapted from the publication by SE Wells (1990) At Risk Youth: Identification, Programs, and Recommendations.

Student Related:

  • Attendance/truancy
  • Behavior/discipline problems
  • Pregnancy/parenting
  • Drug Abuse
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Suspension/expulsion
  • Friends have dropped out
  • Illness/disability

Family Related:

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Dysfunctional home life
  • Low parental involvement
  • Low parental expectations
  • Non-English speaking home
  • Domestic violence

School Related:

  • Conflict between home and school culture
  • Ineffective discipline system
  • Lack of adequate counseling
  • Negative school climate
  • Lack of relevant curriculum
  • Passive instructional strategies
  • Inappropriate use of technology
  • Disregard of student learning styles
  • Suspension/expulsion
  • Low expectations
  • Lack of language instruction

Community Related:

  • Lack of community support services
  • Lack of community support for schools
  • High incidence of criminal activity
  • Lack of school/community linkage
  • High mobility / homelessness

Last Updated: January 2, 2008
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