Texas Dropout Definition
A dropout is a student who attends grade 7-12 in a public school in a particular school year, does not return the following fall, is not expelled, and does not:
Texas Education Code §39.053
High dropout rates among youth with disabilities are a serious national concern. The National Center for Education Statistics reports modest gains in the graduation rate for students with disabilities. In 2012-2013 there was a 62 percent increase. Data, also demonstrates that students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive out-of-school suspension as students without disabilities. In addition students with disabilities were subject to physical restraint at rate six times that of their peers, leading to suspensions, which leads to dropout.
Because students drop out of school for a variety of reasons, some external to school and some education-related it is difficult to predict which students will drop out. Understanding the factors that contribute to dropout helps ensure the development of effective dropout prevention programs and strategies.
Academic progress and school completion are not equally distributed across disability, income or ethnicity. Almost half of students with emotional disturbance (ED) drop out. Students with a disability from low-income families have a higher dropout rate and Hispanic youth have experienced the smallest improvement in school completion rates.
Researchers have studied and evaluated programs and practices designed to reduce dropout rates and to help students who are struggling in school for decades. Although many promising activities exist, there are no “best” programs and practices that apply in every situation.
Texas’ dropout crisis has additional unique challenges, the size of Texas school districts and its unique ethnic diversity offers both opportunities and challenges. In order to better address the uniqueness of dropout in Texas, The Texas State Legislature passed House Bill 2237 providing for a study on the best practices in dropout prevention. Based on this study, they were able to classify programs that have the best chance for replication in Texas (to view the full study http://tea.texas.gov/Dropout_Resources.html).
A comprehensive violence prevention plan, including conflict resolution, must deal with potential violence as well as crisis management. Violence prevention means providing daily experiences at all grade levels that enhance positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills in all students.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Birth-to-three-interventions demonstrate that providing a child educational enrichment can modify IQ. The most effective way to reduce the number of children who will ultimately drop out is to provide the best possible classroom instruction from the beginning of their experience.
Mentoring is a one-to-one caring, supportive relationship between a mentor and a mentee that is based on trust. Tutoring, also a one-to-one activity, focuses on academics and is an effective way to address specific needs such as reading, writing, or math competencies.
When educators show students that there are different ways to learn, students find new and creative ways to solve problems, achieve success, and become lifelong learners.
The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) has identified four general categories for 15 effective strategies.
To see all 15 strategies in detail: http://tea.texas.gov/Dropout_Resources.html
For on online course in each strategy: http://dropoutprevention.org/15-effective-strategies-online-courses
There are multiple accountability and monitoring systems in Texas, each of which accounts for dropout rates in different ways. For students who receive special education services, there are additional monitoring systems that look specifically at special education program data. Taken together with state and federal accountability data, these allow for a fuller picture of dropout data for students with disabilities in our state. Below is a discussion of the data collection methods and the different calculations, including how they are used within each accountability and monitoring system.
2017-2018 Texas Student Data System: Appendix D – PEIMS Leaver Reason Codes and Documentation Requirements
Each time a student leaves (un-enrolls from) a district, the district must report this to TEA through our state’s Texas Student Data System (TSDS) PEIMS Leaver Codes. The type of leaver code reported determines whether or not the student is counted as a dropout.
In different accountability/monitoring systems, different leaver codes are used for calculating dropouts.
The following leaver codes are counted as dropouts for all student populations (regardless of whether or not a student qualifies for special education services), as indicated below:
Annual Dropout Rate
All systems currently in use in Texas for students who receive special education services use the Annual Dropout Rate calculation (as opposed to the longitudinal or "cohort" rate - see below).
Annual dropout rates look at single year data. This rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who drop out during a single school year by the cumulative number of students who enrolled during the same school year. For this calculation, it does not matter what year the student should have graduated, but only that the student was enrolled during the year and left the district under a leaver code that counted as a dropout.
Calculating Annual Dropouts:
number of students who dropped out during the school year
number of students who enrolled during the school year
The annual dropout calculation rate is a measure of annual performance for a school, district, or state. It allows inclusion of more campuses in an accountability system since it can be calculated for any school that has students in grades included in the calculation. Additional advantages to using an annual dropout rate calculation include:
The main disadvantage to using an annual dropout rate is the fact that because it includes only one year of data, it produces the lowest dropout rate of all calculation methods. This highlights the national concern that reporting lower dropout rates may underestimate the dropout problem.
The following systems use annual dropout rates:
Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools 2014-2015 (August 2016)
State accountability is calculated and reported at both the district and campus level. Dropout rates are a part of Index 4 in the state accountability system. However, dropout rates are only used if graduation rates are not available. In this case, annual dropout rates are used (rather than longitudinal dropout rates).
To view district or campus-level state accountability dropout data (only available if graduation data is not available for the campus or district), visit the TEA webpage, Texas Accountability Rating System, select the School Year and select either campus or district.
2017 Accountability Manual for Texas Public School Districts and Campuses
Annual Dropout Rate Calculation
State Definition of Dropout (Leaver code 98 only)
Calculated at District and Campus Level
Calculated for All Students, by Race/Ethnicity, ELL Status, and Special Education Status
Only used if Graduation Rates are not available
The federal accountability system measures is referred to in Texas as System Safeguards. System safeguards are calculated and reported at both the district and campus levels. This system measures performance of students who receive special education services distinctly as well as limits on students with disabilities who participate in alternate assessments (STAAR Alternate 2). Finally, system safeguards specifically measure graduation rates of students who receive special education services.
However, system safeguards/federal accountability does not currently include any measure of dropout rates, including not having a measure of dropout rates specific to students who receive special education services.
No Dropout Rates Included
Texas’s Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS) is a district-level, data-driven monitoring system that is one part of Texas Education Agency’s annual evaluation of school districts’ performance and program effectiveness of specific programs. Special education (abbreviated SPED within PBMAS) is one of the programs analyzed within PBMAS.
PBMAS is calculated and reported only at the district level.
PBMAS uses the annual dropout rate rather than a cohort rate. This means that PBMAS looks at dropouts within a single school year rather than dropouts within a cohort year.
The PBMAS calculation for dropouts within the special education program is as follows:
number of Grades 7-12 students served in special education who dropped out
number of Grades 7-12 students served in special education in attendance
PBMAS uses the Federal Accountability requirements and definitions for determining which students count as dropouts. This means leaver codes 88, 89, and 98 are counted as dropouts in PBMAS.
Due to the fact that dropout data is not finalized in TSDS/PEIMS until after PBMAS reports are created for districts, PBMAS dropout data is not from the school year immediately preceding the PBMAS report. Instead, it is from the school year prior to the one that just finished. That means the any given year’s dropout data in PBMAS is essentially two school years old.
Districts can access confidential student-level listings of dropouts served in special education that were used in calculating the PBMAS dropout numbers through the secure Accountability TEASE application, using the Research and Analysis (RES) tab.
To view district-level PBMAS dropout data, visit the TEA webpage, PBMAS – District Reports.
Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System Manual
Federal Definition of Dropout (Leaver codes 88, 89, and 98)
Calculated at District Level Only (No Campus Data)
Calculated at Program Level Only (Special Education Specific)
Data is 2 years old
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 requires each state to measure each local education agency’s (LEA’s) performance on 14 specific indicators within the LEA’s special education program. These indicators must then be reported each year by the state to the U. S. Department of Education as an aggregated state report. This report is refereed to as the State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR). The second indicator on this report is specific to students with disabilities who drop out, and is commonly referred to as State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 2.
SPP 2 uses the state requirements and definitions of drop outs. This means that students reported with Leaver Code 98 are the only students who count as dropouts under SPP 2. It uses the annual dropout rate calculation.
SPP 2 is calculated and reported only at the district level (and additionally at the state level in the Annual Performance Report (APR) that is submitted in the Spring of each year to the U.S. Department of Education).
number of Grades 7-12 students served in special education who dropped out
number of Grades 7-12 students served in special education in attendance
To view district-level SPP 2 data, visit the TEA webpage, District Profile of State Performance Plan Indicators Report.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal education law that governs special education services, requires that each local education agency (LEA) be issued a determination rating by their state education agency each year regarding their implementation and monitoring of their special education program.
LEA Determinations are integrated with PBMAS staging levels.
Finally, while longitudinal dropout rates are not currently used in any Texas systems related to calculating dropouts for students who receive special education services, it is important to have an understanding of how longitudinal (sometimes called cohort) rates differ from annual dropout rates.
Longitudinal rates are calculated using student cohort groups. The rate is based on students who began school during a certain school year together and thus, should have graduated together. For example, the longitudinal graduation and dropout rates for 2015 (most current data available) are based on students who began grade 7 in 2009-10 or later joined that cohort.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) calculates longitudinal data for classes of Grade 7 students and for classes of Grade 9 students. This allows for both a 4-year longitudinal graduation and dropout rate as well as extended (5-, 6-, and 7-year graduation and dropout rates). An extended longitudinal graduation rate is the percentage of students from a class of beginning ninth graders who graduate within five or more years. Similarly, a four-year longitudinal dropout rate is the percentage of students from a class of beginning ninth graders who drop out before completing high school. An extended longitudinal dropout rate reflects those students who drop out within five or more years after entering ninth grade.
Calculating Longitudinal Dropouts:
the number of students who drop out
number of students in the class
Note: Dropouts (which students/leaver codes are counted as dropouts) are based on the dropout definition in place in the year the student drops out, not in the year the student entered high school.
One major advantage of the use of the longitudinal calculation of dropouts over the annual dropout calculation is that it is more consistent with the public understanding of a dropout, as someone who enters high school but does not graduate within a specified period of time. Additionally, because students are tracked into the Fall of the school year following their anticipated graduation date (or longer), the gives the school district time to locate the student and encourage him/her to return to school. Also, because this measure is longitudinal, it is more likely to be stable across time than is an annual measure.
Disadvantages to using a longitudinal rate generally stem from the potential for error that can result from the necessity in linking multiple student records to track across school years and even from classification of students who move across schools. Changes in data collection methods, including changes to the dropout definition, across time further impact this method. Also, longitudinal methods can only be calculated for schools that include all grade levels for which data is collected, unlike annual methods, which can be included for all schools for any single grade level included in the data collection.
Currently no Texas systems use Longitudinal dropout rates; however, this data is used in many national reports and is more consistent with the general public’s understanding of what dropping out means – as a student who starts high school but does not graduate within a specified amount of time.
Comparison data of the annual and longitudinal dropout rates in Texas can be seen in the Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools Report.
 Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools 2014-2015 (August 2016)
 Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools 2014-2015 (August 2016
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