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Dropout Rates in the United States, 1996


          The (NCES) collects and publishes information on the condition of education in the United States. Under mandate from the Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvements Amendment of 1988 (P.L. 100–297), NCES released the first annual report on school dropouts in 1989. Although the reporting of dropout statistics is no longer required by law, this report has been continued because of the importance of charting dropout behavior among America’s youth.

          This report, the ninth in the series, presents data for 1996 on high school dropout and persistence rates, and examines high school completion and graduation rates. In addition to extending time series data reported in earlier years, this report focuses on the characteristics of high school dropouts and high school completers in 1996.

          The report is based on the best and most current national data available at this time. It utilizes the data from the Current Population Survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census to develop national event and status dropout rates and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 to develop 8th- through 12th-grade and 10th- through 12th-grade cohort dropout rates. As a part of an ongoing effort to expand and improve data collected about dropouts, NCES initiated a dropout statistics collection in the 1991–92 school year as a component of the Common Core of Data; data from the fourth year of that collection are included in this report. Current Population Survey data are also used to develop national and state-specific high school completion rates.

          I hope the information in this report will be useful in discussions about this critical national issue.


Pascal D. Forgione, Jr.          
Commissioner of Education Statistics  

Contents Contents Acknowledgments