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Executive Summary  
Event and Status Dropout Rates  
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Event Dropout Rates        
Status Dropout Rates        
High School Completion Rates  
High School Completion Rates        
Method of High School Completion        
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Graphical Representation of Table
Event Dropout Rates
Event rates calculated using the October 1999 CPS data measure the proportion of students who dropped out between October 1998 and October 19996. These dropouts are 15- through 24-year-olds who were enrolled in high school in October 1998, but had not completed high school and were not enrolled in grades 10-12 a year later. According to this definition, a young person could complete high school by either earning a high school diploma or receiving an alternative credential such as a GED. In October 1999, 5 out of every 100 young adults (5.0 percent) who were enrolled in high school in October 1998 were no longer in school and had not successfully completed a high school program7 (table 1).

Over the past quarter of a century, annual estimates of the event dropout rate have fluctuated between 4.0 and 6.7 percent (figure 1 and table A9). However, overall there has been a downward trend in event dropout rates, from 6.1 percent in 1972 to 5.0 percent in 19998. The percentage of young adults who left school each year without successfully completing a high school program decreased from 1972 through 1987. Despite year-to-year fluctuations, the percentage of students dropping out of school each year has stayed relatively unchanged since 1987. Changes in data collection and estimation procedures coincided with an increase in the rates from 1991 through 1995 (see appendix C). Nevertheless, over the period from 1991 through 1999, there was no consistent upward or downward trend in event rates.

6 Specifically, the numerator of the event rate for 1999 is the number of persons 15 through 24 years old surveyed in 1999 who were enrolled in high school in October 1998, were not enrolled in October 1999, and also did not complete high school (i.e., had not received a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate) between October 1998 and October 1999. The denominator of the event rate is the sum of the dropouts (i.e., the numerator) and the number of all persons 15 through 24 years old who attended grades 10-12 in 1998 and were still enrolled in 1999 or had graduated or completed high school.
7 Standard errors for all tables and figures are provided in appendix A.
8 The statistical significance of these comparisons was assessed with Student's t-test with a Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Time trends noted in this report were assessed using weighted least squares regressions. For a full discussion of the statistical methods used in this report, see appendix C. All changes or differences noted in this report are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
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