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Dropout Rates 1995 - 1996


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 1995-96 reporting year (July 1, 1995, to June 30, 1996).

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. The dropout measure that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reports is one that was developed by the U.S. Department of Education. This measure 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. The dropout rate is the number of students who drop out over a one-year period, from July 1 to June 30, minus the number of returned dropouts, divided by the October 1 enrollment. This measure will eventually be adopted by all states, allowing for comparisons between states and with the national average.

This is the fourth year that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has reported this dropout measure. Prior to 1993, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported a dropout rate, referred to in previous reports as the unadjusted dropout rate, which counted students as dropouts regardless of whether they returned to school. Therefore, data in this report are not comparable to data for years prior to 1993; interested parties who wish to obtain data for making comparisons with earlier years should contact the Department of Education.

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Last Updated: March 21, 1997
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