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Dropout Rates 1993 - 1994

The purpose of this report is to assess the holding power of schools in order to examine how well Massachusetts public schools are doing in graduating their students. This report summarizes and analyzes information about students who dropped out of school during the 1993-94 reporting year.[1]

Effective dropout prevention requires accurate information about the extent and nature of the dropout problem. This analysis is intended to contribute to efforts to continue to develop and strengthen successful dropout prevention programs. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education welcomes suggestions that would improve the analysis of dropout information and contribute to its usefulness.

Definition of a Dropout

Dropouts are defined as students who leave school prior to graduation for reasons other than transfer to another school. This is the second year that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is reporting two different measures of dropout rates: unadjusted and adjusted. The unadjusted dropout rate is the measure that has been reported since 1987. It is the number of students who drop out over a one-year period, from July 1 to June 30, divided by the enrollment on October 1. This measure counts students as dropouts regardless of whether they return to school at some future time.

A new measure of a dropout was developed by the U.S. Department of Education. This measure, referred to in this report as the adjusted dropout rate, partially accounts for students who drop out and return to school. Students who drop out during a particular reporting year but return to school by October 1 of the following year, referred to in this report as returned dropouts, are not counted as dropouts in the adjusted dropout rate. This measure will eventually be adopted by all states, allowing for comparisons between states and with the national average.

For the first few years that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reports the adjusted dropout rate, it will also report the unadjusted dropout rate in order to allow for comparisons with previous years. Once a timeline has been established with the adjusted dropout rate, the unadjusted rate will no longer be reported.

Table 1. Dropout Rates: 1994
 TotalUnadjusted Number of DropoutsUnadjusted Annual RateUnadjusted Projected of Dropouts**Adjusted Projected 4-Year Rate**Adjusted Annual Rate*Adjusted Number of Enrollment Dropouts*Returns as Percent of Dropouts***
Race/Ethnic Group
Vocational-Technical Schools
Students with Special Needs

* adjusted figures account for 1993-94 dropouts who returned to school by Oct. 1, 1994
** percentage of ninth graders (Class of 1997) projected to drop out over four-year period
*** percentage of 1993-94 dropouts who returned to school by Oct. 1, 1994
**** figures do not include vocational-technical students enrolled in comprehensive high schools
***** enrollment is for students age 16-21

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Last Updated: September 1, 1995
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