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Dropout Rates 2000 - 2001

Data Collection and Dropout Rate Calculations

Data Collection

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education definition, a school dropout in Massachusetts is defined as a student who leaves school prior to graduation for reasons other than transfer to another school and does not return to school by October 1 of the following reporting year. Individual public schools reported to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the number of students who dropped out over a 12-month period beginning July 1, 2000, and ending June 30, 2001. Dropout figures were reported in the Year-End School Indicator Report for 2000-01. Schools then reported the number of dropouts who returned to school by October 1, 2001. In both of these reports, dropouts were classified by gender within the five racial/ethnic groups across grades six through twelve. Although the Department collects data on students in grades six through eight, the reported rate represents grades nine through twelve. Data on grades six through eight are available from the Department.

Dropout Rate Calculations

Annual Dropout Rate

In Massachusetts, the annual dropout rate is the number of dropouts from grades nine through twelve over a single one-year reporting period, minus the number of those dropouts who returned to school by the following October 1, divided by the October 1 enrollment for that reporting period. Enrollment data for October 1, 2000, collected in the Individual School Report, were used to determine the 2000-01 dropout rate. Because students who drop out between July 1 and October 1 are counted as dropouts but are not included in the enrollment figure against which the number of dropouts is compared, the rates may be slightly inflated to the extent to which students drop out prior to October 1.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has reported dropout data using this measure. Prior to 1993, the Department reported a dropout rate that counted all students who dropped out of school regardless of whether they returned to school. This rate, called the unadjusted dropout rate, is not included in the analyses of this report. Therefore, data in this report are not comparable to data for the years prior to 1993. Data comparable with earlier years are available from the Department. The unadjusted rate for 2001 is included in the data table of annual dropout rates for schools and districts at the end of this report (Appendix A).

Annual Dropout Rate =
(number of dropouts - returned dropouts) / October enrollment * 100

Statewide annual dropout rate (2000-01) =
(10,978 - 1,598) / 271,700 * 100 = 3.5%
Projected Four-Year Dropout Rate

The projected four-year dropout rate is determined by calculating the cumulative effect of four years of dropping out according to the following formula.

Projected Four-Year Dropout Rate = [1 - (1 - W) (1 - X) (1 - Y) (1 - Z)] * 100

 W=Annual Dropout Rate in Grade 9
 X=Annual Dropout Rate in Grade 10
 Y=Annual Dropout Rate in Grade 11
 Z=Annual Dropout Rate in Grade 12

Statewide Adjusted Projected Four-Year Dropout Rate (class of 2004) =
[1 - (1 - .031) (1 - .037) (1 - .039) (1 - .031)] * 100 = 13%

The methodology assumes that (1) current annual dropout rates for grades ten, eleven and twelve will remain constant over the next three years, and (2) students who drop out will not return to school after October 1 of the following year. Grade-specific dropout rates for individual schools, as well as projected four-year dropout rates for individual schools, are available from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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Last Updated: August 1, 2002
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