The following links provide some basic information to describe the high school dropout problem in Massachusetts and nationally.
The definitions for the annual dropout rate, the cohort graduation rate, and the explanation for the differences between these two calculations can all be found on the Annual Dropout Rate vs. Cohort Graduation Rate page.
The Department releases annual dropout rates reports (available from the 1993-94 School Year to the present).
The Department releases cohort graduation rates data (available from the 2006 cohort to the present).
The National Center for Education Statistics report Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005
The consequences of not graduating from high school are clearly stated in Northeastern University Center for Labor Market Studies' 2007 report, State and Local Fiscal Consequences of High School Dropout Problems in Massachusetts . Adults in Massachusetts that leave high school prior to earning a high school diploma are employed less often and earn far less than their peers that graduate from high school. For example, high school dropouts can expect to earn about $500,000 less over the course of their lifetime than high school graduates.
Dropping out of school has serious consequences for students, their families. Students who decided to drop out of school face social stigma, fewer job opportunities, lower salaries, and higher probability of involvement with the criminal justice system.
Barton, P.E. (2005). One-third of a nation: Risking dropout rates & declining opportunities. Princeton, NJ: Policy Information Center, Educational Testing Service, p. 5.
Sum, Andrew et al. (2002). Left behind in the labor market: labor market problems of the Nation's out-of-school, young adult populations. Chicago, IL: Alternative Schools Network.
Adair, V.C. (2001). Poverty and the (broken) promise of education. Harvard Educational Review, 71(2), pp. 217-239.
There are many factors that may place students at risk and contribute to a student's decision to drop out of school. These include school, community, and family related factors. In many cases, no one factor leads to a student's decision to drop out, rather it is a combination of factors. The following list was adapted from the publication by SE Wells (1990) At Risk Youth: Identification, Programs, and Recommendations and the Massachusetts Department of Education 1989 report Changing Schools and Communities: A Systematic Approach to Dropout Prevention.
Last Updated: July 21, 2009
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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