NEWS RELEASES 2015-16 :: MARCH 3, 2016

IN 2014-15

North Carolina’s public school dropout rate slightly increased in 2014-15 according to the Consolidated Data Report today presented to State Board of Education members at their March meeting. The state’s dropout rate rose to 2.39 percent from 2.28 percent the previous year. The .11 percentage point increase was the first increase in the dropout rate since 2006-07, when the dropout rate increased from 5.04 to 5.24. In 2014-15, 11,190 students dropped out of school as opposed to the 10,404 students the previous year.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said she was concerned that the state’s dropout rate increased. “My top goal since I took office hasn’t changed: a 100 percent graduation rate. A high school diploma is the minimum requirement students must meet to land a job that will lead them into a successful career. I plan to work closely with department staff and local superintendents to determine possible reasons behind the increase and ways to reverse the trend.”

Other key findings of the 2014-15 Consolidated Data Report show that:

  • Students dropped out most frequently at 10th grade (30 percent), followed by 9th grade (28.1 percent).
  • The number of high school students dropping out increased at all grade levels and for all ethnic groups except Asian, which decreased.
  • Males accounted for 62 percent of reported dropouts, which was down from the 62.7 percent reported last year.
  • Attendance issues were again the reason most often cited for dropping out, accounting for 40.3 percent of all dropouts. Enrollment in a community college came in second at 15.8 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 beginning high school. North Carolina high schools reported a record-high 85.4 percent four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2015.

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 the issue of students’ persistence and high school completion.

The full report containing state, district and charter high school dropout counts and rates for 2014-15 is available online.

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.