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Information Services - Statistical Reports

Dropout Rates in Massachusetts Public Schools: 2002-03

Analysis of Dropout Rates

Dropout Rates: 2002-03

During the 2002-03 reporting year, a total of 9,389 ninth- through twelfth-graders dropped out of Massachusetts public schools and did not return to school by October 1, 2003. These students represented 3.3 percent of the 281,939 students enrolled in grades nine through twelve in the state's public schools on October 1, 2002.

In addition to the 9,389 dropouts, another 1,281 students dropped out of school during the 2002-03 reporting year and were not in school at the end of the year but had either returned to school or graduated by October 1, 2003. These students, referred to in this report as returned dropouts, represented 12 percent of the total number of students who dropped out during the 2002-03 school year (see Table 1).

Table 1. Dropout Rates: 2002-03
Enrollment Number of DropoutsAnnual Rate Projected Four-year Rate* Returns as % of Dropouts**
Total, Grade 9-12 281,939 9,389 3.3% -- 12.0%
Grade
Grade 9 82,071 2,639 3.2% 13% 12.4%
Grade 10 72,404 2,485 3.4% -- 12.4%
Grade 11 66,548 2,163 3.3% -- 13.5%
Grade 12 60,916 2,102 3.5% -- 9.4%
Gender
Male 142,592 5,513 3.9% 15% 11.8%
Female 139,347 3,876 2.8% 11% 12.4%
Race/Ethnic Group
African-American 25,112 1,431 5.7% 21% 12.9%
Asian 13,095 325 2.5% 10% 12.6%
Hispanic 27,701 2,040 7.4% 26% 15.1%
Native American 869 42 4.8% 18% 12.5%
White 215,162 5,551 2.6% 10% 10.6%
Low Income 57,862 2,973 5.1% 19% 15.2%
Limited English Proficient 12,127 740 6.1% 22% 9.1%
Special Education 39,850 1,838 4.6% 17% 14.1%
Vocational-Technical Schools*** 32,135 983 3.1% 12% 13.7%
City/Town 7,012 478 6.8% 25% 15.7%
Regional/County/Independent 25,123 505 2.0% 8% 11.7%

* Percentage of ninth graders (class of 2006) projected to drop out over a four-year period
** Percentage of 2002-03 dropouts who returned to school by October 1, 2003
*** Figures do not include vocational-technical students enrolled in comprehensive high schools

Annual Dropout Rates: 1999-2003

Over the past five years, the annual dropout rate in Massachusetts has decreased from 3.6 percent in 1998-99 to 3.3 percent in 2002-03. During this time period, the number of dropouts has increased slightly (from 9,188 in 1998-99 to 9,389 in 2002-03), while the grades 9-12 enrollment has increased significantly. The enrollment for these grades has grown from 258,026 students in 1998-99 to 281,939 students in 2002-03, an increase of 9.3 percent (see Table 2). As mentioned previously, the dropout rate of 3.1 percent for 2001-02 is most likely attributed to changes in the data collection system (see Data Collection above).

Table 2. Annual Dropout Rates: 1999-2003
 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03
Total Dropout Rate, Grade 9-12 3.6% 3.5% 3.5% 3.1% 3.3%
Total Number of Dropouts 9,188 9,199 9,380 8,422 9,389
Grade 9-12 Enrollment 258,026 265,795 271,700 273,912 281,939
Grade
Grade 9 3.1% 3.1% 3.3% 2.9% 3.2%
Grade 10 3.8% 3.7% 3.5% 3.1% 3.4%
Grade 11 4.3% 3.9% 4.0% 3.3% 3.3%
Grade 12 3.1% 3.1% 3.1% 2.9% 3.5%
Gender
Male 4.0% 4.0% 4.1% 3.5% 3.9%
Female 3.1% 2.9% 2.8% 2.6% 2.8%
Race/Ethnic Group
African-American 6.7% 6.1% 6.1% 4.9% 5.7%
Asian 3.6% 4.0% 3.9% 2.3% 2.5%
Hispanic 9.8% 8.2% 8.0% 7.3% 7.4%
Native American 4.0% 4.2% 3.2% 3.7% 4.8%
White 2.5% 2.6% 2.6% 2.4% 2.6%
Low Income NA NA NA NA 5.1%
Limited English Proficient NA NA NA NA 6.1%
Special Education NA NA NA NA 4.6%
Vocational-Technical Schools* 2.9% 3.2% 3.3% 2.6% 3.1%
City/Town 4.9% 5.5% 6.8% 5.4% 6.8%
Regional/County/Independent 2.4% 2.6% 2.1% 1.7% 2.0%

* Figures do not include vocational-technical students enrolled in comprehensive high schools

Projected Four-Year Dropout Rates: Class of 2002-2006

Based on the annual dropout rate for each grade level, it is projected that 13 percent of the students who entered ninth grade in the 2002-03 reporting year will have dropped out by the end of school year 2005-06. This statistic, known as the projected four-year dropout rate, is an estimation of the cumulative effect of four years of students dropping out of school for the class of 2006. The projected four-year dropout rate of 13 percent for the class of 2006 is one percent more than the projected rate for the class of 2005 (12 percent) and equal to the projected rate for the class of 2004 (see Table 3 on the following page).

Table 3. Projected Four-Year Dropout Rates: Class of 2002-2006
 Class of 2002 Class of 2003 Class of 2004 Class of 2005 Class of 2006
Total 14% 13% 13% 12% 13%
Gender
Male 15% 15% 15% 13% 15%
Female12% 11% 11% 10% 11%
Race/Ethnic Group
African-American 24% 22% 22% 19% 21%
Asian 14% 15% 15% 9% 10%
Hispanic 33% 29% 28% 26% 26%
Native American 17% 16% 12% 14% 18%
White10% 10% 10% 9% 10%
Low Income NA NA NA NA 19%
Limited English Proficient NA NA NA NA 22%
Special Education NA NA NA NA 17%
Vocational-Technical Schools* 12% 13% 13% 10% 12%
City/Town 19% 21% 24% 20% 25%
Regional/County/Independent 9% 14% 8% 7% 8%

* Figures do not include vocational-technical students enrolled in comprehensive high schools

Distribution of Annual Dropout Rates: 2000-2003

The statewide dropout rate masks the wide disparity in individual school rates and the persistently high rates at some schools. Among individual schools the dropout rate ranged from a low of zero percent to a high of 67 percent1 . Thirty-eight schools reported no dropouts in 2002-03 and another 65 schools reported dropout rates of one percent or less. Eighteen schools reported dropout rates greater than 10 percent. These 18 schools comprised less than five percent of the state's grade nine through twelve enrollment, but accounted for 20 percent of the state's dropouts (see Table 4 on the following page).

1 Because dropout rates for schools with low enrollments are overly sensitive to small variations in the number of dropouts, the analysis of the distribution of dropout rates excludes schools with a grade 9-12 enrollment of fewer than 75

Table 4. Distribution of Annual Dropout Rates: 2000-2003
 Number and Percent of Schools*
Annual Rate (%) 1999-002001-01 2001-02 2002-03
  # % # % # % # %
0 18 6 16 5 29 9 38 12
0.1 - 1.0 67 21 67 21 73 23 65 20
1.1 - 2.5 103 32 92 29 93 29 82 26
2.6 - 5.0 72 23 93 29 85 26 80 25
5.1 - 7.5 30 10 21 7 23 7 23 7
7.6 - 10.0 9 3 9 3 9 3 15 5
10.1 and above 18 6 21 7 12 4 18 6
Total Number of Schools317 319 324 321

*Excludes schools with enrollments fewer than 75. Percent of schools may not total to 100 percent due to rounding.



Last Updated: April 1, 2004
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