Research

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Texas public schools are losing one out of four students.

Each fall, IDRA releases its attrition study. Attrition rates are an indicator of a school’s holding power, or the ability to keep students enrolled in school and learning until they graduate. Key findings from the latest study show the following.

  • Texas is failing to graduate one out of every four students – which translates to losing 11 students per hour. The statewide attrition rate is 24 percent (down from 25 percent last year).
  • Texas high schools lost 99,960 students in 2016-17.
  • At this rate, Texas will not reach universal high school education for another two decades in 2037.
  • Black students and Hispanic students are about two times more likely to leave school without graduating with a diploma than White students.
  • In the last 32 years, Texas schools have lost a cumulative total of more than 3.7 million students from public high school enrollment prior to graduation.

See the attrition study news release.

Quick Links to IDRA’s Attrition Study Stories and Resources

Texas High School Attrition Reaches All-Time Low of 29% for Hispanic Students, Statewide Rates Returns to 24% After One Year Bump – 32nd Annual Texas Public School Attrition Study Released by IDRA

  • News Release (October 31, 2017): Texas High School Attrition Reaches All-Time Low of 29% for Hispanic Students, Statewide Rates Returns to 24% After One Year Bump – See story
  • eNews: Texas High School Attrition Reaches All-Time Low of 29% for Hispanic Students, Statewide Rates Returns to 24% After One Year Bumps – See eLetter
  • Attrition Study: Texas Public School Attrition Study 2016-17 – See pdf
  • Infographic: Texas public schools are losing one out of four students – See infographic
  • Trend graphs: See attrition rates and numbers over the last eight years – Look up your county
  • County List: Which counties had attrition rates go up or down – See list
  • Checklist Tool: Quality School Holding Power Checklist – See checklist
  • eBook: Types of Dropout Data Defined – See eBook
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  • Resources

  • 2016-17 Attrition Study
    PDF

  • Texas public schools are losing 1 of 4 students
    Infographics
  • Look Up Your County for 8 Year Trend Graphs
    Infographics
  • County List - See which counties had attrition rates go up or down
    PDF

IDRA Attrition Studies Over the Years

Each fall, IDRA releases its attrition study. We have released these studies every year since 1986, when IDRA conducted the first study that was ever conducted for the state of Texas. IDRA is the only organization that has examined Texas attrition rates consistently, with the same methodology, making year-to-year comparisons possible. Here is a list of each study.

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News Release: Despite Graduation Rate Progress, Texas Appears Stuck at Losing One-Fourth of High Schoolers

(November 1, 2016) IDRA’s analysis found that the attrition rate in Texas has risen for the first time in 18 years. Though just an increase of 1 percentage point, Texas schools have been losing between 26 percent and 24 percent of high school students annually for the last five years.

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Texas High Schools Stand to Lose Over 2 Million Students in Coming Years

(November 21, 2016) IDRA’s analysis found that Texas will not reach an attrition rate of zero until 2035-36. At this pace, the state will lose more than 2 million students.

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News Release: Zero Tolerance Policies Push Students Away

(December 1, 2016) – Zero tolerance policies likely contribute to high attrition rates of Black students and Hispanic students in Texas public schools.

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News Release: Temporary Policy Relieves High-Stakes for 6,000 Students

(November 14, 2016) Students who are economically disadvantaged, Latino or African American benefited most from the alternative graduation policy established by the Texas legislature in SB149.

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Look Up Your County

See attrition rates and numbers over the last 8 years.

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News Release: Texas High School Attrition Reaches All-Time Low of 29% for Hispanic Students

(October 31, 2017) IDRA’s analyses found that the Texas attrition rate of 29 percent for Hispanic students is below 30 percent for the first time in three decades. At 24 percent statewide for all student groups, our high schools are losing one-fourth of their students.

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