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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Chapter 4. Persistence

Indicator 15: Absence
Indicator 16: Retention, Suspension, and Expulsion
Indicator 17: Dropouts
Snapshot of Hispanic and Asian Subgroups: Dropouts by Nativity

Chapter 4 looks at three measures of student persistence in school. Indicator 15 examines student absences. Among 8th-graders in 2005, Asians/Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage of students who had no absences in the past month, while American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest percentage who had missed 3 or more days in the same time period. Students who had not missed school were more likely to score at or above Basic on the NAEP mathematics assessment.

Indicator 16 examines rates of retention, suspension, and expulsion. In 2003, a higher percentage of Black elementary and secondary students had been suspended from school at some point than was the case for students of any other race/ethnicity. Additionally, a higher percentage of Black than White, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander students had been retained a grade or expelled. Rates of retention, suspension, and expulsion were also higher for males than females.

Indicator 17 examines high school status dropout rates. Between 1989 and 2005, the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts decreased from 13 percent to 9 percent. In 2005, Hispanics were more likely to have dropped out than were Blacks, Whites, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives had higher dropout rates than those for Whites and Asians/Pacific Islanders.