Drop Out Rate Measurement

The U.S. Department of Education identifies four different rates to measure high school dropout and completion in the United States. Each rate contributes unique information.

- The event dropout rate estimates the percentage of high school students who left high school between the beginning of one school year and the beginning of the next without earning a high school diploma or its equivalent (e.g., a GED). Event rates can be used to track annual changes in the dropout behavior of students in the U.S. school system.

- The status dropout rate reports the percentage of individuals in a given age range who are not in school and have not earned a high school diploma or equivalent credential. This rate focuses on an overall age group as opposed to individuals in the U.S. school system, so it can be used to study general population issues.

- The status completion rate indicates the percentage of individuals in a given age range who are not in high school and who have earned a high school diploma or equivalent credential, irrespective of when the credential was earned. The rate focuses on an overall age group as opposed to individuals in the U.S. school system, so it can be used to study general population issues.

- The averaged freshman graduation rate estimates the proportion of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma four years after starting ninth grade. The rate focuses on public high school students as opposed to all high school students or the general population and is designed to provide an estimate of on-time graduation from high school. Thus, it provides a measure of the extent to which public high schools are graduating students within the expected period of four years.

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