Information Services - Statistical Reports
Dropout Rates 1996 - 1997
I am pleased to issue our annual publication, Dropout Rates in Massachusetts Public Schools: 1996-97. This report provides information on students who dropped out of Massachusetts public schools during the 1996-97 reporting year. I hope that this information will contribute to ongoing local and state efforts to strengthen dropout prevention programs.
The completion of high school is a crucial basis for a productive life of citizenship and work. The high school dropout rate, therefore, is an important indicator of performance. It will be one indicator in a system we are developing to evaluate schools and districts in accordance with the Education Reform Act.
Summary of Key Findings
Annual Dropout Rate The 1996-97 annual dropout rate was 3.4 percent, a rate unchanged from the previous year. A total of 8,453 students enrolled in grades nine through twelve dropped out of Massachusetts public schools in the 1996-97 school year and did not return to school by October 1, 1997.
Rate Over Time The annual statewide dropout rate has declined from 3.7 percent in 1994 to 3.6 percent in 1995 to 3.4 percent in 1996 and 1997.
Distribution of Rates for Individual Schools The annual dropout rate varied widely among individual schools, ranging from zero percent to 64 percent. Over half of the schools (54 percent) had a dropout rate of 2.5 percent or less. Approximately five percent of the schools had a rate higher than 10 percent.
Grade Students in grade eleven dropped out at a higher rate, 4.0 percent, than did students in other grades. The 1996-97 dropout rate was 3.8 percent for tenth-graders, 3.2 percent for twelfth-graders and 2.8 percent for ninth-graders. These differences according to grade level are consistent with data from previous years.
Gender The 1996-97 dropout rate was 3.9 percent for males and 3.0 percent for females. Males have dropped out at a higher rate than females for the past several year.
Race/Ethnicity Dropout rates varied widely by race/ethnicity. Hispanic students had the highest annual dropout rate at 8.2 percent. The dropout rate was 6.0 percent for Native American students and 5.6 percent for African-American students. Asian students and white students shared the lowest dropout rate, 2.7 percent. Relative to the prior year, the dropout rate declined for African-American students, increased for Native American, Hispanic, and Asian students, and remained constant for white students.
Vocational-Technical Schools The annual dropout rate for students enrolled in vocational-technical schools was 3.2 percent, slightly lower than the statewide rate. The rate for city/town vocational-technical schools was 6.1 percent, and the rate for regional, independent and county vocational-technical schools was 2.6 percent.
If you have any questions or suggestions about the report, please contact:
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Accountability and Evaluation Services
- 75 Pleasant Street
- Malden, MA 02148
- (781) 338-3000
Thank you for your interest in this report.
Robert V. Antonucci
Commissioner of Education