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Dropout Rates 1994 - 1995

Executive Summary

This is the third year in which the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is reporting a national measure of dropout rates, referred to in this report as the adjusted dropout rate. This measure allows for comparisons with dropout rates of other states and permits the calculation of a national dropout rate. The adjusted dropout rate does not count as dropouts those students who drop out and return to school by the following October 1. The unadjusted rate, also included in this report, does not make this adjustment and is reported to allow for comparisons with Massachusetts dropout rates reported prior to 1993. The reporting of the unadjusted rate will eventually be phased out. The dropout rate referred to in this report is the adjusted rate unless otherwise specified.

Below is a summary of the report's key findings.

  • Annual Dropout Rate The 1995 annual dropout rate was 3.6 percent. A total of 8,396 students enrolled in grades nine through twelve dropped out of Massachusetts public schools in the 1994-95 reporting year and did not return to school by the following Fall. In addition to these students, another 1,885 students dropped out of school but re-enrolled by October 1, 1995. These students, referred to in this report as returned dropouts, represented 18.3 percent of the total number of dropouts.

  • Rate Over Time The annual dropout rate decreased from 3.7 percent in 1994 to 3.6 percent in 1995. This decline comes after a slight increase in the dropout rate from 3.5 percent in 1993, the first year the adjusted rate was available. The unadjusted annual rate also decreased from 4.6 percent in 1994 to 4.4 percent in 1995. The unadjusted rate has dropped from 5.3 percent in 1987, the first year the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education began collecting dropout data.

 1987198819891990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
Unadjusted5.3 5.4 4.9 4.6 4.0 4.0 4.3 4.6 4.4
Adjusted - - - - - - 3.5 3.7 3.6
  • Distribution of Rates for Individual Schools The annual dropout rate varied widely among individual schools, ranging from zero percent to 36.9 percent. At the low end, 171 schools had dropout rates of 2.5 percent or less. At the high end, 14 schools had dropout rates in excess of 10 percent. These 14 schools comprised 4.5 percent of the state's grade nine through twelve enrollment but accounted for 21.2 percent of the state's dropouts.

  • Grade Students in grades ten and eleven dropped out at higher rates than did students in grades nine and twelve. The 1995 annual dropout rate for tenth-graders was 3.7 percent and the rate for eleventh-graders was 4.5 percent. The dropout rate for both ninth-graders and twelfth-graders was 3.1 percent.

  • Gender The 1995 annual dropout rate was 4.1 percent for males and 3.0 percent for females.

  • Race/Ethnicity Dropout rates varied widely by race/ethnicity. Hispanic students had the highest annual dropout rate at 9.3 percent, over three-and-a-half times as high as the rate for white students at 2.6 percent. African-American students had the second highest dropout rate at 7.3 percent, followed by Native American students at 5.2 percent and Asian students at 3.0 percent.

  • Vocational-Technical Schools The annual dropout rate for students enrolled in vocational-technical schools was 4.0 percent. The rate for city/town vocational-technical schools was 11.1 percent, a substantial increase from the rate of 4.8 percent the prior year, and the rate for regional, independent and county vocational-technical schools was 2.5 percent.

  • Students with Special Needs The 1995 unadjusted annual dropout rate for students with special needs was 8.9 percent, up from 8.3 percent the previous year. Data for the adjusted rate for students with special needs are not available.

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Last Updated: March 1, 1996
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