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Dropout Rates

This entry focuses on high school dropout rates in the United States, though the term could equally well be applied to other levels of education and is also used in other countries. The topics covered include key terms used in defining dropout rates, data sources for determining dropout rates, the policy importance of school dropouts, the causes of dropping out, and relevant interventions.

Students who drop out of high school do far worse than graduates on many important outcomes such as earnings, employment, involvement in crime, welfare receipt, and life expectancy. These poor outcomes are not entirely caused by dropping out, which may be as much an indicator of low skills as it is a precipitator of problems. Even if only an indicator, however, it is ...

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