The term at-risk is very inclusive. It refers to children who possess personality characteristics or who come from backgrounds that are associated with problems in school. These children are not eligible for special education services, yet need more support than the non at-risk student. Without proper interventions, many students at-risk will drop out or fail out of school. School personnel need to identify students at-risk and provide appropriate supports to them so they can succeed.
A variety of situations put students at-risk, these include
Four approaches are used to assist at-risk students. Compensatory education focusses on making up for risk factors. For example, head start reading programs are compensatory programs which provide young students at-risk with additional reading assistance. Prevention programs focus on preventing risk factors from taking effect. Prevention programs, such as the DARE program, are frequently used to prevent students from using drugs and/or alcohol, so as to prevent students from being at-risk because of substance abuse. Intervention programs focus on reducing risk factors, such as good-parenting programs for teenage mothers. Transition programs help students see the relationship between school and how it is used in the real world. Such a school-to-work program can motivate a student to finish high school to obtain a job.