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Four Year Trend of Dropout Data 1995-1999

Including and Excluding Alternative Schools

Who Is Considered a Colorado Dropout? By Colorado law, a dropout is a "person who leaves school for any reason, except death, before completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent, and who does not transfer to another public or private school or enroll in an approved home study program." A student is not a dropout if he/she transfers to an educational program recognized by the district, completes a G.E.D. or registers in a program leading to a G.E.D., is committed to an institution that maintains educational programs, or is so ill that he/she is unable to participate in a homebound or special therapy program.

What Is the Dropout Rate? The Colorado dropout rate is an annual rate, reflecting the percentage of all students enrolled in grades 7-12 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. In accordance with a 1993 legislative mandate, beginning with the 1993-94 school year, the dropout rate calculation excludes expelled students.

Can the Dropout Rate Be Multiplied by Four to Find Out How Many Students Drop Out Over the Four Years of High School? No. The dropout rate is an annual rate only. It is not statistically valid to simply multiply the annual rate by four to find out how many students dropped out during high school. The graduation rate, however, provides a measure of how many students completed graduation requirements.

How Are Dropout Data Reported? Dropout data are reported annually to the Department by Colorado school districts. Dropout data are collected for grades 7-12, by school building and by district. Data are reported separately by sex, ethnicity/race, and grade level of students.

  1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99
  Number of Dropout Number of Dropout Number of Dropout Number of Dropout
  Dropouts Rate Dropouts Rate Dropouts Rate Dropouts Rate
Total 12,949 4.0% 11,967 3.6% 12,063 3.5% 11,584 3.3%
Male 7,379 4.4% 6,770 3.9% 6,887 3.9% 6,668 3.7%
Female 5,570 3.5% 5,197 3.2% 5,176 3.1% 4,916 2.9%
American Indian 294 8.2% 246 6.6% 260 6.6% 221 5.3%
Asian 260 3.0% 245 2.7% 292 3.0% 229 2.3%
Black 1,021 5.6% 851 4.4% 894 4.6% 879 4.4%
Hispanic 4,284 7.5% 4,005 6.6% 3,949 6.3% 4,261 6.5%
White 7,090 3.0% 6,620 2.7% 6,668 2.7% 5,994 2.4%

Who Is a Transfer? A student is considered a transfer to another district or educational program if the receiving school or program sends for the student's records, or if the sending district can document that the parent or legal guardian has provided information regarding the school or education program into which the student is transferring. This definition of a transfer is in accordance with the Public School Finance Act of 1988, 22-53-207(3), C.R.S.

What If a Student Just Disappears? A student who disappears from school is considered a dropout unless the student transferred to another educational program.

  1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99
  Number of Dropout Number of Dropout Number of Dropout Number of Dropout
  Dropouts Rate Dropouts Rate Dropouts Rate Cropouts Rate
Total 9,909 3.1% 8,904 2.8% 9,021 2.7% 8,542 2.5%
Male 5,776 3.6% 5,247 3.1% 5,327 3.1% 5,108 2.9%
Female 4,133 2.7% 3,657 2.3% 3,694 2.3% 3,434 2.1%
American Indian 186 5.7% 168 4.9% 176 4.8% 142 3.8%
Asian 212 2.5% 211 2.3% 252 2.7% 193 2.0%
Black 713 4.1% 572 3.2% 578 3.2% 539 2.9%
Hispanic 3,302 6.1% 2,819 5.0% 2,855 4.9% 2,963 4.9%
White 5,496 2.4% 5,134 2.2% 5,160 2.1% 4,580 1.9%

Can a Student Drop Out More Than Once? How Does That Affect the Annual Dropout Rate? Some students have a pattern of dropping out and returning to school several times before they either graduate or drop out and do not return. In the state reporting system, a student is counted as a dropout only once within a given reporting period (i.e., from July 1 through June 30). However, if a student drops out during one school year, then returns to school the following year and drops out again, he/she will be counted in the dropout rate two years in a row.

How Valid Are Colorado's Dropout Rates? The Colorado Department of Education provides definitions, guidelines, and training regarding the proper procedures for identifying and reporting dropout statistics. The data are edited and screened upon receipt and a turnaround document with the calculated rates is returned to the district for verification. In submitting the data to the state, each superintendent signs an assurance that the district has followed the required procedures.