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Public School Graduates and Dropouts From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2006–07
NCES 2010-313
October 2009

Introduction

This report presents the number of high school graduates, the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), and dropout data for grades 9 through 12 for public schools in school year 2006–07. The counts of graduates, dropouts, and enrollments by grade (which serve as the denominators for the graduation and dropout rates) are from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Common Core of Data (CCD) nonfiscal surveys of public elementary/secondary education. The data for this collection were reported to the NCES through the U. S. Department of Education’s EDFacts data collection system by state education agencies (SEAs). These data represent high school graduates receiving regular diplomas and dropouts for the 2006–07 school year. Although data from 5 sequential school years is presented in tables 3 and 7, only comparisons between the 2006–07 and 2005–06 are presented in the text.

Graduation data. The AFGR provides an estimate of the percentage of high school students who graduate on time. The rate uses both aggregate student enrollment data to estimate the size of an incoming freshman class and counts of the number of diplomas awarded 4 years later. The incoming freshman class size is estimated by summing the enrollment in 8th grade in 1 year, 9th grade for the next year, and 10th grade for the year after, and then dividing by three. The averaging is intended to account for prior year retentions in the ninth grade. Although not as accurate as an on-time graduation rate computed from a cohort of students using student record data, this estimate of an on-time graduation rate can be computed with currently available cross-sectional data. Based on a technical review and analysis, the AFGR was selected from a number of alternative estimates that can be calculated using available cross-sectional data (Seastrom et al. 2006a, 2006b).

Graduates are those students who are reported as diploma recipients. These are individuals who are awarded, in a given year, a regular high school diploma or a diploma that recognizes some higher level of academic achievement. They can be thought of as students who meet or exceed the coursework and performance standards for high school completion established by state or other relevant authorities. Other high school completers who were awarded alternate credentials such as a certificate of completion and equivalency recipients (e.g., individuals receiving credentials based on the General Education Development, or GED, test) are not included because they are not regular graduates.

This report includes counts of high school graduates for school year 2006–07 for 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Data for high school graduates were missing from CCD reports for the Bureau of Indian Education, the U.S. Department of Defense domestic and overseas dependents schools, and Guam. Graduate counts were reported by race/ethnicity, at the state level, for 48 states. New York and Kentucky did not report graduate counts by race/ethnicity. Race/ethnicity graduate counts for the District of Columbia were suppressed due to inaccuracy. The AFGR could not be calculated by race/ethnicity for Nevada as enrollments by race/ethnicity were not reported for the 2004–05 school year. A more detailed discussion of the calculation of AFGR is contained in Appendix A.

Dropout data. The CCD defines a dropout as a student who was enrolled at any time during the previous school year who is not enrolled at the beginning of the current school year and who has not completed school. Students who have transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. Ungraded students who drop out are assigned by the reporting state to the grade most appropriate for their age.

The event dropout rate describes the proportion of students who drop out in a single year. The rate is the number of students who drop out of a given grade divided by the number of students enrolled in that grade at the beginning of that school year. The enrollment is adjusted, if necessary, to include ungraded students. The technical notes for this report describe in more detail how this rate is calculated.

This report includes 2006–07 school year dropout data for 49 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The high counts of missing data resulted in the suppression of dropout counts from Vermont. The low district-level response rate for 9th and 10th grade dropouts for Pennsylvania resulted in the suppression of the total high-school dropout rate (grades 9 through 12) presented in tables 4 and 7, and the grade 9 and 10 individual dropout rates presented on table 5. The Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense domestic and overseas dependents schools, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico did not report dropouts. A more detailed discussion of the definition of "dropout" is contained in appendix A.

Because the purpose of First Look reports is to introduce new data, it is only possible to include more generalized information and limited detail. The data gathered as part of this CCD collection are of a higher detail than represented by the text and tables included in this report. The data from this collection are included in three different data files. The NCES Common Core of Data State Dropout and Completion Data File: School Year 2006–07 presents data on high school dropouts (grades 9 through 12) by grade, race/ethnicity, and gender; regular and other high school graduates by race/ethnicity; and General Education Diploma (GED) recipients at the state and other jurisdiction level. The Public NCES Common Core of Data Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Public-Use Data File: School Year 2006–07 presents data on high school dropouts (grades 9 through 12) by race/ethnicity and gender; and regular and other high school graduates by race/ethnicity and gender at the local education agency (LEA) level. The NCES Common Core of Data Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropouts and Completion Restricted-Use Data File: School Year 2006–07 presents data on dropouts (grades 7 through 12) by grade, race/ethnicity, and gender; and regular and other high school graduates by race/ethnicity and gender at the local education agency level. The state-level and public-use, LEA-level data files are available for download from the NCES website. The restricted-use, LEA-level data files are available to qualified researchers through the NCES restricted-use data license program.

More information about this, and other CCD surveys and products, is available on the CCD website.

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