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Numbers and Rates of Public High School Dropouts: School Year 200405
NCES 2008-305
December 2007


The Common Core of Data (CCD) is an annual universe collection of public elementary and secondary education data that is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and its data collection agent, the U.S. Census Bureau. Data for the CCD surveys are provided by state education agencies (SEAs). This report presents findings on the numbers and rates of public school students who dropped out of school in school years 2002–03, 2003–04, and 2004–05, using data from the CCD State-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts for these years. The report also used the Local Education Agency-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts: School Year 2004–05, and the NCES Common Core of Data Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Restricted-Use Data File: School Year 2004–05.

The CCD provides an event dropout number and rate. An event dropout number represents the number of students dropping out in a single year, while the event dropout rate represents the percentage that drop out in a single year. According to the CCD definition, a dropout is an individual who

  1. was enrolled in school at some time during the previous school year;
  2. was not enrolled at the beginning of the current school year;
  3. has not graduated from high school or completed a state- or district-approved education program; and
  4. does not meet any of the following exclusionary conditions: transfer to another public school district, private school, or state- or district-approved education program; temporary absence due to suspension or school-approved illness; or death.

Please see Appendix A: Methodology and Technical Notes in this report for a detailed discussion of the definition of a dropout.

While tables include data for all of the CCD respondents, the discussion in the text is limited to the 46 states that reported data for 80 percent or more of their students.

The CCD collects data from the universe of local education agencies. Because the CCD is not based on a sample of agencies, no statistical tests of the data are required. More information about the survey content and methodology can be found in appendix A. Appendix B is a glossary of key CCD terms used in this report.

More information about CCD surveys and products is available at