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Chapter 4: Student Behaviors and Persistence

This chapter looks at measures of student behavior and persistence. Indicator 14 examines rates of retention, suspension, and expulsion. In 2015, higher percentages of Black students (3.0 percent) and Hispanic students (2.9 percent) than of White students (1.8 percent) were retained in the same grade as the prior school year. In 2011–12, about 6.4 percent of students received out-of-school suspensions. A higher percentage of Black students (15.4 percent) received out-of-school suspensions in 2011–12 than of students from any other racial/ethnic group. Additionally, higher percentages of Black students (0.5 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native students (0.4 percent) were expelled than of students from any other racial/ethnic group.

Indicator 15 provides information on safety at school, such as how often students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property or how often they had been offered illegal drugs. Experiences differed by race/ ethnicity. For example, in 2013, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months was higher for American Indian/Alaska Native (18 percent) and Hispanic students (8 percent) than for White (6 percent) and Asian students (5 percent).

Indicators 16 and 17 discuss high school status dropout rates and completion rates. Between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts—meaning that they were not enrolled in school and had not earned a high school credential—decreased from 12 percent to 6 percent (Indicator 16). The status dropout rate in 2014 was lower for individuals who were Asian (3 percent), White (4 percent), and of Two or more races (5 percent) than for individuals who were Black (8 percent), Hispanic (11 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (12 percent). The status completion rate measures the percentage of 18- to 24-year-old young adults who hold a high school diploma or an alternative credential. In 2015, approximately 26.2 million young adults (93 percent) had earned a high school diploma or alternative credential (Indicator 17). The Asian status completion rate (97 percent) was higher than the White rate (95 percent), and the rates for both groups were higher than the rates for Black (92 percent), Hispanic (88 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (82 percent) young adults.