You are here

2003-2004 Dropout Data

The 2003-2004 school year had a dropout rate of 3.8 percent. This was a 1.4 percentage point increase from the 2002-2003 school year (2.4 percent) and a 1.2 percentage point increase from the 2001-2002 school year (2.6 percent).

New for 2003-2004

State Assigned Student Identifiers Introduced to End of Year Collection: Create Adjustment for Dropout Rates

Dropout Rate: Many districts and schools will note an increase in the dropout rate reported for the 2003-2004
collection period compared to previous years. In most cases this decrease is attributable to the following factors:

  1. 2003-2004 was the first year the Colorado Department of Education collected Student End of Year data for
    each individual student using State Assigned Student Identifiers (SASIDs). Tracking students individually
    rather than in aggregate allows a more accurate accounting of students’ progress through the public education
    system than was possible under the old data collection method. The Colorado Department of Education expects
    these dropout rates to remain at a higher level in the coming years.
  2. Individual data reporting allows CDE to conduct a post-collection follow-up on individual students. This
    follow-up process allowed districts to accurately adjust the exit status of students by reclassifying students
    originally misidentified as dropouts, expulsions, or transfers. As an example of how this post-collection
    follow-up affected the 2003-2004 dropout rate, consider that 11,302 students were counted as dropouts in the
    original collection, but an additional 3,619 students were determined to be dropouts in the post collection
    phase (a 32% increase). Similarly, 27,846 students were counted as transfers to another district in the
    original collection, but 9,504 of these students were never reported as enrolled in any other districts
    prior to the end of the school year (a difference of 34%).
  3. A vendor-supplied student tracking system used by several Colorado school districts has historically
    artificially increased the student membership base in the old paper/diskette system by double counting students
    who dropped then reenrolled. Adoption of the new SASID system will eliminate this error, but may also have
    resulted in increased dropout rates for these districts.

As additional reports become available, this page will be updated. If you are using Internet Explorer and have this page listed in Favorites, please click the "Refresh" button to ensure you are accessing the most current documents. If you are using Netscape Navigator and have this page listed in Bookmark, you will need to click the "Reload" button.

Questions and Answers about Colorado Dropout Rates

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

District Level Data

School Level Data