Is dropout rate the same for both genders or it differs, does it depend on race, social status? What are the results of school dropouts?
2. Troubles with counting dropout rate
In different sources it is possible to find different dropout rates for the same year. How did it happen and why it is impossible to count exact level of dropouts? There are several ways to complete high school. Most students receive high school diploma. But some students choose other way and pass equivalency test in order to receive alternative documentation, one of them is General Educational Development (GED) certificate. One more way is to receive certificate of completion issued by the state, this certificate is given when a student achieves requirements other than those of the regular curriculum, such as attending school regularly for 12 years or passing a test specified by the state.
The problem is that usually school dropout rate is based only on students that receive simple high school diplomas. Those, who had chosen other ways to complete school and receive credentials, are not counted. This way we get false school dropout rates. And it is pretty hard to understand in which source which way of counting was used.
The next problem is that definition of a person to be called a dropout is not unique, and varies from state to state, from school to school. In some cases students who drop out over the summer, or who leave school to get married are not counted as dropouts, in other cases they are counted. Some schools follow up on students who do not return after the summer to determine whether or not they are enrolled in other schools, while other schools do not do that. This way some students could be counted twice, in result accuracy of the school dropout rate suffers. Also in some cases students enrolled in equivalent programs are not counted as dropouts, but some cases they are. This all makes counting of accurate school dropout rate very hard.
3. Types of dropout rates
U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is responsible for calculating dropout rates. I say rates, because there are several types of dropout rates. The major 3 of them are:
- Event dropout rate: reflects the percentage of students who dropped out in a single year without completing high school
- Status dropout rate: reflects the percentage of the population in a given age range who had not finished high school or were not enrolled in school at one point in time
- Cohort dropout rate: reflects the percentage of a single group of students who drop out over time
Status rate is usually higher than event rate, because it reflects the number of students in a given age range who have quit of school over a number of years, on contrast to event rate that shows only 1 year. For example, event dropout rate for high schools for 1993 was 4.5 percent, while the 1993 status dropout rate for high schools was 11.0 percent.
4. Trends in dropout rates
Here are the trends for 3 major types of dropout rates:
- The status dropout rate for high school-aged students declined from 14.6 percent in 1972 to 11.0 percent in 1992 and 1993;
- The event dropout rate for high school-aged students declined from 6.1 percent in 1972 to 4.5 percent in 1993
- The cohort rate for high school-aged students in 1980 and dropped out between grades 10 and 12 was 11.4 percent, at the same time the cohort dropout rate for a comparable group of 1990 high school-aged students was 6.2 percent.
Although dropout rates are declining, this percentage still represents a huge number of people. In 1993 almost 3.4