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Research

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Texas public schools are losing one out of five students.

Each year, 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 five students – which translates to losing 10 students per hour.
  • The statewide attrition rate is 19%, meaning 19% of the freshman class of 2017-18 left school prior to graduating in the 2020-21 school year.
  • At this rate, Texas will not reach universal high school education for another almost two decades in 2039.
  • Schools are twice as likely to lose Latino students and Black students as white students before they graduate.
  • In the last 33 years, Texas schools have lost a cumulative total of more than 4 million students from public high school enrollment prior to graduation.
  • 125 counties had improved attrition rates since last year, 85 counties had higher attrition rates and 19 counties remained the same.

See reporter FAQs and resources regarding attrition and dropout data (and downloadable graphics)


Quick Links to IDRA’s Attrition Study Stories and Resources

News Release: Texas High Schools Reaches All-Time Low Attrition Rate, but Still Loses 80,000 Students – IDRA Study Gives a First Look at the Pandemic’s Effect on Attrition Rates – See news release

Attrition Study: Texas Public School Attrition Study 2020-21 – See pdf

Infographic: Texas public schools are losing one out of five students – See infographic

Infographic: 8 Types of Dropout Data Defined – See infographic page

Infographic: 6 Policies and Practices that Lead to Higher Dropout Rates – See infographic page

Trend graphs: See attrition rates and numbers over the last 10 years – Look up your county

Article: Preview of IDRA’s 36th Annual Texas Public School Attrition Study – A First Look at the Pandemic’s Effect on Attrition Rates – See article


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Additional Resources

Report: College Bound and Determined – A report profiling what happens when a school district raises expectations for students instead of lowering them

Book: Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework

Overview of the Valued Youth Partnership program, which keeps 98 percent of students in school (PDF)

Ideas and Strategies for Action


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  • Resources

  • 2020-21 Attrition Study
    PDF

  • Texas public schools are losing 1 of 5 students
    Infographics
  • Look Up Your County for 10 Year Trend Graphs
    Infographics

News Release: Texas High Schools Lost 1 in 5 Students Last Year – It Has Taken Over 3 Decades to Improve by Just 11 Points

The Texas high school attrition rate has declined from 24 percent last year to 22 percent in 2017-18 – the...

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Look Up Your County

See attrition rates and numbers over the last 10 years.

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6 Policies and Practices that Lead to Higher Dropout Rates – Infographic

IDRA identified six school policies that lead to higher dropout rates as outlined this infographic: • Exclusionary Discipline • In-grade...

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Types of Dropout Data Defined

IDRA’s infographic gives an overview of the most-used methods of tracking dropout and graduation rates and what they mean.

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Poor Students Are More Likely to Disappear from Schools in Texas

San Antonio (January 31, 2019) – Texas schools, particularly those in low wealth districts and large urban areas, are more...

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News Release: Texas Charter School System Suffers Low Graduation Rates

News Release: San Antonio (December 13, 2017) – Texas students in charter schools are not necessarily faring better than their...

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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...

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Attrition Rate Forecast Predicts Loss of Almost 2 Million More Students

(June 14, 2022) IDRA’s analysis found that Texas will not reach an attrition rate of zero until 2039. At this...

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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...

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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...

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