Dropout Rates in the United States: 2005
NCES 2007-059
June 2007

Common Core of Data

The Common Core of Data (CCD), administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), is an annual survey of the state–level education agencies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and seven other jurisdictions.23 Through this survey, statistical information is collected on all public school districts and their schools, staff, students, and finances. Information is not collected on private schools and their students, homeschoolers, individuals who never attended school in the United States, or those who have been out of a public school system for more than a year.

The dropout data collection was initiated with a set of instructions to state CCD coordinators in the summer of 1991. Those instructions specified the details of dropout data to be collected during the 1991–92 school year. Dropouts are reported for the preceding school year. The 1991–92 data were submitted to NCES as a component of the 1992–93 CCD data collection. Most recently, the 2001–02 dropout data were submitted as a component of the 2002–03 CCD data collection. For the 2001–02 school year, a total of 49 states submitted dropout data to the CCD. Of these, 46 reported using agreed–upon reporting definitions. Those that did not were excluded from the CCD dropout data. Because of these exclusions, CCD data cannot be used to estimate a national–level dropout rate.

Data needed to estimate the averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR), specifically data on diploma awards and enrollment by grade, have traditionally been part of the CCD data collection. Like dropout data, diploma recipient reports are lagged a year (e.g., 2001–02 diploma counts are in the 2002–03 data files). All states reported diploma and enrollment data necessary for calculating the averaged freshman graduation rate, with the exception of diploma counts for 2003–04 for New York and Wisconsin.24

23 Dropout and Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) data presented in this report are based on the Common Core of Data: “Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Data File: School Years 1991–92 through 1996–97” Version 1a and “Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Data File” School Years 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, Versions 1b, and 2001–02 Version 0d; and “State Non–Fiscal Data Files” School Years 1997–98 Version 1b, 1998–99 Version 1c, 1999–2000 Version 1c, 2000–01 Version 1b, 2001–02 Version 1b, 2002–03 Version 1b, 2003–04 Version 0c, and 2004–05 Version 0c.
24 This report includes national estimates of the averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR) based on the state Common Core of Data (CCD). Two states, New York and Wisconsin, are missing diploma counts data in 2003–04. Two calculations were produced for the national AFGR in 2003–04: one without these two missing states, and an adjusted rate calculated using the 2002–03 rates for New York and Wisconsin.