Recent interest has focused on the high school dropout rate as one indicator of the national education picture. Empirical estimates of this “rate” vary considerably, because these estimates are poorly defined. This article reviews some of the current measures and presents a new measure of the high school dropout rate—the proportion of high school students who drop out in a defined period of time (1 year). The estimates show that the national yearly high school dropout rate was about the same in 1985 as it was in 1968. Improvement has occurred, however, since 1968 for specific racial groups as well as for some grade levels.

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