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By Karen Seashore Louis

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Seeking loopholes, denying enrollment to low-scoring students, threatening Latina/o students with deportation) appear to conflict with the traditional task of these Texas high schools – educating and graduating at-risk students. Yet, audits by TEA and careful empirical scrutiny of individual-level district data throughout the more than 15 years of accountability reveal a lack of student progress and low graduation rates for large numbers of at-risk students in Texas (Peabody, 2003; Vasquez Heilig and Nichols, 2011).

Notably, Clearbend offered her another option – she could skip the ticket and fine by signing and returning an enclosed form to officially dropout of school. In this same conversation, the student mentioned that Clearbend would allow students to make-up failed courses through “service” credits. These service credits were determined by the school and were earned by weekend remediation activities. By completing these service credits, her friend skipped from the tenth grade into the 12th grade. Unfortunately, she also skipped over the Texas exit testing.

As the research proceeded, most but not all questions in the bank were used, and several were amended to capitalize on relevant issues and ideas that arose during the research process. In essence, to gather richer data, the research was grounded in emerging themes revealed by the participants. The transcripts in both studies were analyzed using the constant comparative method ( Janesick, 1994; Patton, 1990). Once the interviews were transcribed, several individuals coded phrases that had meaning in relation to the main purposes of the study.

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