Estimated cohort dropout rate by race/ethnicity, public schools in Washington

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Why This Indicator Matters

Disaggregated data is presented to provide a preliminary understanding of disparities by race and ethnicity. On its own, this data tells a limited story about the populations it represents. We encourage users of this data to engage with communities of color to develop a more accurate and meaningful understanding than these data allow.
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Definitions: The percentage of students who began grade 9 in a given year but dropped out of school over a 4-year period and did not receive a regular diploma using the estimated 4-year cohort dropout rate, disaggregated by race/ethnicity.  

OSPI reported both the estimated and adjusted 4-year dropout rates for the 2011-12 school year.  As of the 2012-13 school year, OSPI only reports the adjusted 4-year dropout rates.  Both the annual dropout rate and the estimated 4-year cohort dropout rate have been discontinued.

Data Source: Data for this measure come from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Data were retrieved from "Graduation and Drop out Statistics" reports, and Appendices at

S: Data have been suppressed due to low numbers. Data were suppressed if the enrollment of students served was 10 or less. 

Footnotes: Data last updated in April 2015 by Washington KIDS COUNT. 

The methodology for calculating dropout rates in Washington state has changed in recent years.  In previous years, OSPI reported both an annual dropout rate and an estimated 4-year cohort dropout rate.  Both the annual dropout rate and estimated cohort dropout rates were replaced by the adjusted 4-year cohort dropout rates for the 2012-13 school year.  The methodologies are different and therefore historical comparisons between them are not recommended.

For more information about the changes in methodology, read OSPI's report here. Starting in 2012-13, the adjusted cohort dropout rate will be the new requirement for states to report based on the National Governor’s Association compact, replacing both the estimated cohort dropout rate and the annual dropout rate. 

The estimated cohort dropout rate is calculated by:

(100-(100*(1-grade 9 dropout rate)*(1-grade 10 dropout rate)*(1-grade 11 dropout rate)*(1-grade 12 dropout rate))

For detailed discussion of methods and criteria that OSPI used to include or exclude groups (such as transfers in, transfers out etc.) in the calculations and the difference between the methods, please read their "Graduation and Drop out Statistics 2010-11 Report." 

Race/ethnicity is self-reported by either students or parents/guardians. When students report more than one racial/ethnic category, OSPI reports the category listed first. Therefore, the racial/ethnic categories are not mutually exclusive.