Education Department Issues New Rules to Calculate Racial Disparities in High School Graduation Rates

In the past, states have used a wide variety of ways to calculate their high school dropout rates. Now, the U.S. Department of Education has issued new regulations that require states to calculate “a uniform, accurate high school dropout” rate and to collect data on racial differences. Under the new rules, the dropout rate will be calculated by comparing the number of students who graduate to the number who entered the school in ninth grade. Minor adjustments will be made for students who moved in or out of the school district.

Under these guidelines, the Education Department estimated that nationwide, 80.6 percent of white students in public high schools go on to graduate compared to 59.1 percent of black students.