Completion, Graduation, and Dropouts

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) prepares data, reports, and additional resources related to graduates and dropouts in Texas public schools.

Resources

Following is a list of resources related to graduates and dropouts in Texas public schools.

Data

View Texas public school completion, graduation, and dropout data at the state level or search by campus, district, county, or education service center region.

Reports

View reports on secondary school completion, graduation, and dropouts in Texas public schools.

Additional Documents

View presentations and technical documentation related to secondary school completion, graduation, and dropouts in Texas public schools.

FAQ

View frequently asked questions about graduates, dropouts, and leavers in Texas public schools.

Reports

The Accountability Research Unit in the Division of Research and Analysis publishes an annual report on graduates and dropouts in Texas public secondary schools, as well as special reports on related topics. The annual report includes state summaries of the annual dropout rate, longitudinal graduation, completion, and dropout rates, and state attrition rates. Supplements to the report present secondary school completion, graduation, and dropout data at the county, district, and campus levels.

Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2014-15 (August 2016), PDF (2.0 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2013-14 (August 2015), PDF (2.0 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2012-13 (August 2014), PDF (1.6 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2011-12 (August 2013), PDF (1.8 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2010-11 (July 2012), PDF (1.5 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2009-10 (July 2011), PDF (1.5 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2008-09 (July 2010), PDF (1.2 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2007-08 (July 2009), PDF (1.1 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2006-07 (August 2008), PDF (1.2 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2005-06 (August 2007), PDF (1.1 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2004-05 (July 2006), PDF (608 KB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2003-04 (August 2005), PDF (592 KB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2002-03 (August 2004), PDF (544 KB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2001-02 (August 2003), PDF (735 KB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 2000-01 (August 2002), PDF (695 KB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 1999-00 (August 2001), PDF (1.4 MB)


Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, 1998-99 (January 2001), PDF (507 KB)


Dropout Study: A Report to the 77th Texas Legislature (December 2000), PDF (340 KB)

  • Dropout rates published by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), a key component of the state's Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS), have been criticized in recent years for not presenting an accurate picture of the dropout phenomenon in Texas public schools. TEA Rider 71 of the General Appropriations Act (House Bill 1, 76th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) directed the Legislative Budget Board, State Auditor's Office, and TEA to conduct a study of the current system used to identify and report students who do not graduate from high school or those who drop out of school before enrolling in high school. Also, the study must determine the actual number and percentage of students who do not complete high school within four years of enrolling in 9th grade. This report presents the findings and recommendations from that study. The recommendations address three areas in which the current annual dropout rate has been criticized: dropout definition; dropout rate calculation; and data quality.

1997-98 Report on Public School Dropouts (September 1999), PDF (772 KB)


1996-97 Report on High School Completion Rates (August 1999), PDF (290 KB)


1996-97 Report on Public School Dropouts (August 1998), PDF (4.1 MB)


Policy Research Report No. 8. High School Completion Rates: Investigating a Longitudinal Performance Measure for Texas Schools (October 1996), PDF (80 KB)

  • This report investigates issues surrounding the use of a longitudinal performance measure in the Texas integrated accountability system. A detailed discussion of a high school completion rate is presented, along with an overview of other school performance measures.

The following reports are not available in PDF. For additional information please e-mail the Texas Education Agency Office of Publications or contact the office by phone at 512-463-9744.

  • 1995-96 Report on Public School Dropouts (August 1997)
  • 1994-95 Report on Public School Dropouts (August 1996)
  • 1993-94 Report on Public School Dropouts (September 1995)
  • 1992-93 Report on Public School Dropouts (January 1995)

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Presentations

Following is a list of presentations related to graduates and dropouts in Texas public schools.

Update to Graduation and Dropout Rate Reporting; Texas Assessment Conference, February 2016, PDF (422 KB)


Update to Graduation and Dropout Rate Reporting; Texas Assessment Conference, February 2014, PDF (337 KB)


Update to Annual Dropout, Completion, and Graduation Rate Reporting; Texas Assessment Conference, December 2011, PDF (281 KB)


Update to Annual Dropout, Completion, and Graduation Rate Reporting; Texas Assessment Conference, December 2010, PDF (250 KB)


Update to Annual Dropout, Completion, and Graduation Rate Reporting; Texas Assessment Conference, December 2009, PDF (248 KB)


Annual Dropout, Graduation, and Completion Rates; Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference, January 2009, PDF (168 KB)


Annual Dropout, Completion, and Attrition Rates: Definitions and Results; Texas Assessment Conference, December 2008, PDF (147 KB)


Building the Longitudinal Cohort Used for Calculating Completion Rates; Texas Assessment Conference, December 2008, PDF (118 KB)


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Technical Documentation

Following is a list of technical documents related to graduates and dropouts in Texas public schools.

Processing of District Graduation and Dropout Rates, Class of 2015


Processing of District Graduation and Dropout Rates, Class of 2014


Processing of District Graduation and Dropout Rates, Class of 2013


Processing of District Graduation, Completion, and Dropout Rates, Class of 2012


Processing of District Graduation, Completion, and Dropout Rates, Class of 2011


The National Governors Association Compact Rate: A Comprehensive Approach to Improved Accuracy and Consistency in High School Graduation Rates, Class of 2010 Update (February 2012), PDF (172 KB)


Processing of District Graduation, Completion, and Dropout Rates, Class of 2010


The National Governors Association Compact Rate: A Comprehensive Approach to Improved Accuracy and Consistency in High School Graduation Rates, Class of 2009 Update (January 2011), PDF (248 KB)


Processing of District Graduation, Completion, and Dropout Rates, Class of 2009


The National Governors Association Compact Rate: A Comprehensive Approach to Improved Accuracy and Consistency in High School Graduation Rates (January 2010), PDF (185 KB)


Processing of District Graduation, Completion, and Dropout Rates, Class of 2008


Using the National Center for Education Statistics Dropout Definition for Texas Leaver Reporting (Updated May 2006), PDF (39 KB)


Working Paper No. 7. Profiles of Starting Cohort Members and Transfer Students in a Texas Public High School Cohort (January 2002), PDF (240 KB)

  • The quantitative measure for each indicator in the Texas accountability system is a product of extensive development by Texas Education Agency staff, guided by educators, legislators, and business leaders, and grounded in the accountability system principles. One principle is accountability for all students, but because the indicators differ, the counts and groups of students included in the measures differ somewhat. For example, the indicators related to passing the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) include all students enrolled on the last Friday in October, whereas the annual dropout rates are based on all students in attendance during the year. In the course of developing the longitudinal student status rates as measures of the high school completion rate indicator, agency staff analyzed the counts and characteristics of students included in the measures. In this paper, comparisons of starting cohort members and transfer students are reported.

Working Paper No. 6. Three-Year Follow-up of a Texas Public High School Cohort (January 2002), PDF (290 KB)

  • Since 2000, the Texas Education Agency has reported three groups of students-graduates, General Educational Development (GED) certificate recipients, and continuing students-in the longitudinal completion/student status rate for the district and state Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports. Beginning in 2004, a longitudinal completion rate will be an indicator used to rate Texas public school and district performance. This report is intended to provide information about students who are still continuing high school after their expected graduation year and to inform the decision whether to include this student group in the definition of "high school completion" for Texas public school accountability purposes.

Working Paper No. 2. 1997-98 and 1998-99 Returning and Non-Returning Students in Grades 7-12 (June 2000)

  • Prior to the 1997-98 school year, districts were required to report which students in Grades 7-12 had graduated, dropped out, or returned to school. Beginning with the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Submission 1 in fall 1998, districts were required to report on all students enrolled in the district at any time during the previous school year in Grades 7-12. This report details the returning statuses of students for school years 1997-98 to 1998-99.
  • This report is not available in PDF. For additional information please e-mail the Texas Education Agency Office of Publications or contact the office by phone at 512-463-9744.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a list of frequently asked questions about graduates, dropouts, and leavers:

  1. What is a dropout?
  2. What is the leaver record? How does TEA use the information?
  3. What is an annual dropout rate?
  4. What is a longitudinal graduation rate? What is a longitudinal dropout rate?
  5. What is a cohort? How does TEA place Grade 9 students in a cohort?
  6. Does TEA count a student in more than one cohort?
  7. What are extended longitudinal rates?
  8. Why is there an annual dropout rate and a longitudinal dropout rate? How do they differ?
  9. Why is the longitudinal dropout rate lower than the attrition rate?
  10. How did TEA incorporate the NCES dropout definition into the longitudinal rates?
  11. What is the difference between TEA’s four-year longitudinal graduation rate and NCES’s four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate? Where can I find the NCES rates?
  12. What is the difference between the campus graduation summaries and the four-year longitudinal graduation rates?
  13. What rates does TEA calculate and where can I find them?
  14. Why, for some years and classes, are there two tables for campuses and districts but only one table for regions and the state?
  15. Does TEA calculate the percentages of students graduating within diploma programs?
  16. Where can I find more information on graduation, dropouts, and leavers?
  17. When do the next rates and reports become available?


1. What is a dropout?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) uses the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) dropout definition. Under this definition, a dropout is a student who is enrolled in public school in Grades 7-12, does not return to public school the following fall, is not expelled, and does not: graduate, receive a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, continue school outside the public school system, begin college, or die.

2. What is the leaver record? How does TEA use the information?
Each fall, Texas school districts report to TEA on students in attendance or enrollment in Grades 7-12 the previous school year. Districts submit an enrollment record for the new school year for each student who returned. Districts submit a "leaver record" for each student who left the district and was not accounted for by TEA. TEA accounts for GED certificate recipients, previous graduates, and students who moved from one district and enrolled in another. Each leaver record includes a "leaver reason." The leaver reasons fall into three groups: graduated, dropped out, or left for a non-dropout (“other leaver”) reason such as enrolling in a private school in Texas, enrolling in a public or private school outside Texas, or entering home schooling.
All counts of high school graduates, dropouts, and other leavers come from leaver records. TEA uses the information to prepare a variety of reports and educational indicators on high school progress. To learn more about leaver reasons and how leaver records are processed, or to see the most recent leaver data, read the latest report on secondary school completion, graduation, and dropouts.

3. What is an annual dropout rate?
An annual dropout rate is the percentage of students who drop out of school during one school year.

4. What is a longitudinal graduation rate? What is a longitudinal dropout rate?
A longitudinal graduation rate is the percentage of students from a class of beginning ninth graders who graduate by their anticipated graduation date, or within four years of beginning ninth grade. A longitudinal dropout rate is the percentage of students from the same class of beginning ninth graders who drop out before completing their high school education.

5. What is a cohort? How does TEA place Grade 9 students in a cohort?
A cohort is a group of students who began Grade 9 in public school in a particular school year and were expected to graduate four years later. TEA places students in a cohort based on their first appearance in Grade 9 in Texas public schools, with repeaters excluded. Students who enter Texas public schools after Grade 9 are added to the cohort. TEA adds transfer students to a cohort if, when they enter Texas public schools, they are in the grade level expected for a cohort.

6. Does TEA count a student in more than one cohort?
No. For purposes of calculating a longitudinal rate, all students remain in their original cohort. Similarly, students who are retained in grade or who skip grades remain members of the cohorts they first joined.

7. What are extended longitudinal rates?
In addition to calculating four-year longitudinal rates, TEA calculates five-year extended and six-year extended longitudinal rates for students who take longer than four years to graduate. Extended rates follow students one or more years after anticipated graduation to determine if they have graduated from high school.

8. Why is there an annual dropout rate and a longitudinal dropout rate? How do they differ?
The annual dropout rate and the longitudinal dropout rate differ in the time period covered and the population considered. An annual dropout rate is based on students who attended in a particular school year, regardless of when they were expected to graduate. A longitudinal dropout rate is based on students who began ninth grade in a particular school year and were expected to graduate four years later.

9. Why is the longitudinal dropout rate lower than the attrition rate?
A longitudinal dropout rate is based on the tracking of individual students from the time they begin ninth grade until the fall following expected graduation. By contrast, an attrition rate is based on aggregate numbers. An attrition rate compares Grade 9 enrollment in the fall of one school year with Grade 12 enrollment in the fall three years later. An attrition rate does not take into account any of the reasons beginning and ending enrollments differ. For example, the attrition rate does not take into account Grade 9 enrollment that may be high because some students are repeating Grade 9. The attrition rate also does not take into account Grade 12 enrollment that may be lower than Grade 9 enrollment three years earlier because some students left Texas public school for other educational settings, graduated early, or are in school but not yet in Grade 12. Because the attrition rate is based on enrollment figures from the fall of the first year and fall three years later, it excludes some students. For example, Grade 9 students who enroll after the fall of the first year and students who enter the school system after the first year are excluded from the rates. Additionally, because the attrition rate is based on data from the fall before expected gradation, rather than after expected graduation, it does not take into account whether a student enrolled in Grade 12 in the fall goes on to graduate.

10. How did TEA incorporate the NCES dropout definition into the longitudinal rates?
TEA adopted the NCES dropout definition in the 2005-06 school year. TEA fully incorporated the national definition into the graduation and dropout rates for the class of 2009. Rates for the class of 2009 and later classes are comparable to one another. Rates for classes in which TEA phased in the national dropout definition (classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008) are not comparable from one class to another, nor are they comparable to rates for prior or later classes.

11. What is the difference between TEA’s four-year longitudinal graduation rate and NCES’s four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate? Where can I find the NCES rates?
The adjusted cohort graduation rate is based on the tracking of individual students from the time they begin Grade 9 until the fall following their expected graduation and is the same as the graduation rate that TEA calculates for federal accountability. The adjusted cohort graduation rates for the fifty states and the District of Columbia are available in the latest completion, graduation, and dropout report.

12. What is the difference between the campus graduation summaries and the four-year longitudinal graduation rates?
Both the campus graduation summaries and the four-year graduation rate show the number of students from a group of ninth graders who graduated, were still in school, received GED certificates, or dropped out. The campus graduation summaries include additional information: they provide information on the students who transferred into each campus and on those who transferred out. To see a campus’s actual graduation rate, use the four-year graduation rate.

13. What rates does TEA calculate and where can I find them?
TEA calculates annual dropout rates and longitudinal four-year, five-year extended, and six-year extended graduation and dropout rates for campuses, districts, regions, and the state. TEA also calculates rates for counties for selected years and classes. To find rates, visit the completion, graduation, and dropouts data search.

14. Why, for some years and classes, are there two tables for campuses and districts but only one table for regions and the state?
State statute requires TEA to calculate campus and district rates according to federal definitions. These rates are displayed in Table 1, beginning with annual dropout rates for 2010-11, and longitudinal rates for the class of 2011. Campus and district rates shown in Table 1 are comparable to rates shown at the region and state level. In addition, for state accountability purposes, state statute requires TEA to calculate campus and district rates that exclude students who meet certain criteria. These rates are shown in Table 2. For more information on excluded students, visit the completion, graduation, and dropouts data search and select the data you want. In the first paragraph on the next page, click on the link for excluded students.

15. Does TEA calculate the percentages of students graduating within diploma programs?
Yes, for selected classes. Use the four-year, five-year extended, and six-year extended rate searches on the completion, graduation, and dropouts data search page.

16. Where can I find more information on graduation, dropouts, and leavers?
More information can be found in the latest report on secondary school completion, graduation, and dropouts.

17. When do the next rates and reports become available?
They become available in early August. Read the latest report on secondary school completion, graduation, and dropouts, or join the Accountability Research E-mail List to be notified of new publications.


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Contact Information

For questions or comments, please e-mail the Division of Research and Analysis, or contact the division by phone at 512-475-3523.

This page last updated November 30, 2016.


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