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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2010-015
July 2010

Chapter 4. Persistence

Indicator 16: Absences
Indicator 17: Retention, Suspension, and Expulsion
Indicator 18: Dropout Rates and Graduation Rates
      Snapshot of Hispanic and Asian Subgroups: Dropouts by Nativity
      Snapshot: Dropout Rates for Institutionalized Youth and Young Adults
      by Race/Ethnicity

Chapter 4 looks at three measures of student persistence in school. Indicator 16 examines student absences from school. Among eighth-graders in 2009, Asians/Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage of students who had no absences in the month prior to the survey, while American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest percentage of students who had missed 3 or more days. Generally, a higher percentage of students who had not missed school scored at or above the Basic achievement level on the NAEP mathematics assessment than students who had been absent.

Indicator 17 examines rates of retention, suspension, and expulsion. In 2007, a higher percentage of Black students than students of any other race/ethnicity in grades 6 through 12 had been suspended from school at some point in their school career. Additionally, a higher percentage of Black students than White, Hispanic, or Asian students in kindergarten through grade 12 had been retained in a grade. Overall rates of retention, suspension, and expulsion were higher for males than females.

Indicator 18 discusses high school status dropout rates and graduation rates. Between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts, meaning they were not enrolled in school and had not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or equivalency credential, such as a General Education Development [GED] certificate), decreased from 11 percent to 9 percent. In 2007, Hispanics had a higher percentage of status dropouts (21 percent) than did Blacks, Whites, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives had higher percentages than did Whites and Asians/Pacific Islanders (indicator 18.1). For each year between 1997 and 2007, males had a higher status dropout rate than females. This indicator also examines the averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR), which is an estimate of the percentage of a freshman class that receives a regular high school diploma within 4 years of entering high school. Of the students that entered high school in the 200203 school year, some 74 percent graduated within 4 years (indicator 18.2). The AFGR was higher for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students.