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Dropout Rates in The United States: 2002 and 2003

NCES 2008-053
September 2008


The authors would like to acknowledge the late Dr. Phillip Kaufman, whose leadership of previous NCES dropout reports laid the foundation for this current volume. Dr. Kaufman coauthored the 1989 report, the second in the series, and contributed to each subsequent report through the 2001 volume. He was a senior researcher at MPR Associates, Inc., and a former member of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) staff. Dr. Kaufman believed in the power of research to address social problems, and committed both professional and personal efforts to improving educational outcomes for youth.

The authors would also like to recognize the many people and agencies involved in gathering the data analyzed for this report, including the Census Bureau and respondents of the Current Population Surveys (CPS), staff at NCES involved in the Common Core of Data (CCD) program, and the education professionals at the local and state levels who completed the CCD surveys. The authors are also grateful for the support provided by Stephen Ruffini from the GED Testing Service in supplying the data needed for the GED analyses in the report.

The authors would also like to thank Marilyn Seastrom, Valena Plisko, Jeffrey Owings, Lee Hoffman, and Shelley Burns from NCES and Rachel Dinkes, Deven Carlson, and Todd Thomas from the American Institutes for Research for their helpful comments on drafts of this report. Jerry West, formerly at NCES and now at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., also reviewed an early draft and provided important feedback.

Several MPR Associates staff also made important contributions to this report. The authors thank Martha Alt and Joanna Wu for sharing their technical expertise, and Francesca Tussing, Patti Gildersleeve, and Barbara Kridl for their editorial, graphic, and production guidance.