NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: JANUARY 10, 2013


Last school year, 3.01 percent of high school students dropped out of school, according to the 2011-12 Consolidated Data Report today presented to State Board of Education members. This rate represents a .42 percentage point decrease from the previous year’s rate of 3.43 percent and another record low.

“High school students understand the connection between a diploma and the ability to reach their goals,” State Superintendent June Atkinson said. “Principals, teachers and support staff should be praised for their efforts to ensure that students are staying on track to complete their education and achieve success after graduation.”

Key findings of the 2011-12 Consolidated Data Report show that:

Dropout Rate

  • The annual high school dropout rate decreased from 3.43 percent to 3.01 percent for 2011-12 (.42 percentage point decrease).
  • A total of 13,488 high school students dropped out in 2011-12 as compared to 15,342 students in 2010-11 (12.1 percent decrease).
  • There were dropout count decreases in 70.4 percent (81 of 115) of school districts.
  • Excluding the newly reported Pacific Islander group, black students had the largest percentage decrease in dropout count (16.1) followed by white students (10.8) and Hispanic students (9.7).
  • Males accounted for 60.3 percent of reported dropouts, which was slightly up from 60 percent in 2010-11.
  • Students dropped out most frequently at grade 10 (28.6 percent) followed by grade 9 (26.7 percent), grade 11 (25.3 percent) and grade 12 (17.3 percent).
  • Attendance was the reason most cited for dropping out (41.5 percent).

In considering the annual dropout rate, it is critical to note that this rate is not the same as the four-year cohort graduation rate. The cohort graduation rate follows a group of ninth graders across four years’ time and reports the percentage of these students who graduate four years after they begin high school. North Carolina high schools reported a record-high 80.4 percent four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2012. A lower dropout rate often corresponds with a higher graduation rate.

The annual dropout rate illustrates the number and percentage of students who drop out during one year's time. Some of these students may return to school in the subsequent year and complete high school; others may drop out multiple times. The four-year cohort graduation rate is considered a more comprehensive picture of this issue.

The full report containing district and charter school high school dropout counts and rates for 2010-11 and 2011-12 is available online at

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.