NEWS RELEASES 2013-14 :: APRIL 2 2014


The 2012-13 school year reflected another record low for the number of students dropping out of school according to the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report today presented to State Board of Education members. Last school year, 2.45 percent of high school students dropped out of school, which was an 18.6 percent decrease from the previous year’s record low of 3.01 percent.

"Students know the goals they want to reach and the kind of life they want to lead. A high school diploma is the first step toward reaching their goals," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "I appreciate students for their persistence and teachers, principals, counselors and other student support staff as well as parents for the encouragement they provide every day."

Key findings of the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report show that:

  • The annual high school dropout rate decreased from 3.01 percent to 2.45 percent for 2012-13 (18.6 percent decrease).
  • A total of 11,049 high school students dropped out in 2012-13 as compared to 13,488 in 2011-12 (18.1 percent decrease).
  • Both the number of high school dropouts and the high school dropout rate have been cut in half over the last five years. There were 22,434 North Carolina high school dropouts reported in 2007-08 compared to 11,049 in 2012-13. Also, in 2007-08, the high school dropout rate was 4.97 percent compared to 2.45 percent in 2012-13.
  • There were dropout count decreases in 77.4 percent (89 of 115) of school districts, which represents a 9 percent improvement from 2011-12 when 81 of 115 school districts reported dropout count decreases.
  • The number of high school students dropping out decreased at all grade levels and for all ethnic groups.
  • Males accounted for 61.5 percent of reported dropouts, which was up from the 60.3 percent reported last year.
  • Attendance issues were again the reason most often cited for dropping out, accounting for 45.9 percent of all dropouts. For the third year in a row, there was a decrease in the number of students reporting "Enrollment in a Community College" as the reason for dropping out.

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 82.5 percent four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2013. A lower dropout rate typically corresponds with a high 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 the following year and complete high school while 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 state, district and charter high school dropout counts and rates for 2011-12 and 2012-13 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.