About 30 percent of the nation's public school students fail to graduate on time, according to an analysis by the research center of Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week newspaper.
The report based its estimate on figures from a U.S. Department of Education census for the 2002-03 school year, the most recent available data. Only public school students were included in the report, which was released June 20 and was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The analysis found that during the 2002-03 school year, students in largely minority districts and urban districts had lower graduation rates than their largely white and suburban counterparts.
Official state-reported graduation rates for 2002-03 were almost always higher than the report's conclusions, the report noted, attributing this discrepancy to states' varied methods of calculating dropout rates. For example, while North Carolina reported a 97 percent graduation rate, the report found the state's graduation rate that year to be 66.2 percent.
Last year, all 50 governors agreed to develop a standard system to measure high school graduation rates.
Among the report's findings for the 2002-03 school year:
The report, along with individual state and district data, can be found at www.edweek.org/dc06.