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Dropout Rates 1995 - 1996

Technical Information

Data Collection

Dropout figures were reported to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the Year-End School Indicator Report for 1995-96. Individual public schools reported the number of students who dropped out over a 12-month period beginning July 1, 1995, and ending June 30, 1996. Schools subsequently reported the number of dropouts who returned to school by October 1, 1996, in a supplement to the Individual School Report, commonly referred to as the October Enrollment Report. As previously stated, in Massachusetts a dropout is defined as a student who leaves school prior to graduation for reasons other than transfer to another school. Dropouts were classified by gender within five racial/ethnic groups across grades six through twelve.

Dropout Rate Formulas

Annual Dropout Rate

In Massachusetts, the annual dropout rate is calculated by taking the number of dropouts over a single one-year period, from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, subtracting the number of those dropouts who returned to school by the following October 1, and dividing by the October 1 enrollment for that period. Enrollment data are derived from the Individual School Report. October 1, 1995, enrollment data were used to determine the 1996 annual 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 are slightly biased in an upwards direction to the degree to which students drop out prior to October 1.

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

Example: statewide annual dropout rate (1996) =
(10,261 - 2,084) / 240,347 * 100 = 3.4%

Projected Four-Year Dropout Rate

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

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

Example: Statewide Adjusted Projected Four-Year Dropout Rate (1996) =
[1 - (1 - .028) (1 - .037) (1 - .039) (1 - .033)] * 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 at any time for the unadjusted rate or after October 1 of the following year for the adjusted rate. The grade-specific dropout rates (W,X,Y and Z) vary according to the particular population being examined. Grade-specific dropout rates for individual schools and school districts, as well as projected four-year dropout rates for individual schools, are available from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Accountability and Evaluation Services.

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Last Updated: March 21, 1997
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