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News Release - Improvements to Graduation and Dropout Rates

Jan. 20, 2012

News Release

Small improvements made in statewide graduation rate

State reduces drop-out rate for sixth consecutive year

Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education show the statewide graduation rate for the class of 2011 increased 1.5 percent to 73.9 percent as compared to last year. The graduation rate stood at 72.4 percent for the class of 2010, the first year after a new formula for calculating graduation rates was established by the U.S. Department of Education. Between 2010 and 2011 the number of students that graduated increased from 45,144 to 45,846. Individual district and statewide data is available at

A total of 116 (64.1 percent) Colorado school districts achieved a four-year “on-time” graduation rate at or above the state’s expectation of at least 80 percent. For additional information, visit

The four-year graduation rate formula defines on time as only those students who graduate from high school four years after entering ninth grade. Under this four-year on-time formula, a student is assigned a graduating class when they enter ninth grade. The graduating class is assigned by adding four years to the year the student enters ninth grade. In other words, the formula anticipates that a student entering ninth grade in fall 2011 will graduate with the Class of 2015.

On-Time Graduation Data

Individual district data is available at Data is also disaggregated in the following categories:

Racial/Ethnic Groups

Among ethnic groups, the on-time graduation rate for the 2010-2011 school year was 52.2 percent for Native Americans; 81.7 percent for Asian students; 64.6 percent for black students; 60.1 percent for Hispanic students; 81.1 percent for white students; 74.8 percent for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 79.4 percent for two or more races.


Statewide, the on-time graduation for females was 77.6 percent and the male graduation rate was 70.3 percent.

Completer Rate

The 2010-2011 completer rate was 76.8 percent, while the 2009-2010 completer rate was 75.8 percent. Completers are all graduates plus those students who are not considered graduates but who receive a certificate, a designation of high school completion or a GED certificate.

Dropout Rate

The state again saw a decrease in the drop-out rate. This is the state’s sixth consecutive year for reducing its dropout rate. This year’s rate was reduced by .1 percent from last year. The 2010-2011 rate was 3.0 percent, which translates to a 1.5 percent reduction in the drop-out rate since 2005-2006. This represents more than 5,000 fewer drop-outs compared to the rate just six years ago.

The dropout rate reflects the percentage of all students enrolled in grades seven through 12 who leave school during a single school year. It is calculated by dividing the number of dropouts by a membership base, which includes all students who were in membership any time during the year.

The Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement

CDE’s Office of Dropout Prevention supports schools and districts to strengthen efforts to prevent students from dropping-out and to re-engage out-of-school youth. For more information, visit

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