Research

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Attrition and Dropout Rates in Texas

Texas public schools are losing one out of five 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 five students – which translates to losing 11 students per hour. The statewide attrition rate is 22 percent (down from 24 percent last year).
  • Texas high schools lost 94,767 students in 2017-18.
  • At this rate, Texas will not reach universal high school education for another two decades in 2038.
  • 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 33 years, Texas schools have lost a cumulative total of more than 3.8 million students from public high school enrollment prior to graduation.

See the attrition study news release.

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


Quick Links to IDRA’s Attrition Study Stories and Resources

Texas High Schools Lost 1 in 5 Students Last Year – It Has Taken Over 3 Decades to Improve by Just 11 Points – 33rd Annual Texas Public School Attrition Study Released by IDRA IDRA

News Release (December 6, 2018): Texas High Schools Lost 1 in 5 Students Last Year – It Has Taken Over 3 Decades to Improve by Just 11 Points – 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 nine 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

  • 2017-18 Attrition Study
    PDF

  • Texas public schools are losing 1 of 5 students
    Infographics
  • Look Up Your County for 9 Year Trend Graphs
    Infographics
  • County List - See which counties had attrition rates go up or down
    PDF
  • 2016-17 Charter School Dropout Study

  • Pomp and Poor Circumstances 2017

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 lowest rate in over three decades. In 1985-86, when IDRA conducted the state’s first attrition study, the rate was 33 percent and grew as high as 43 percent in later years. It has taken over three decades to improve by 11 percentage points. At this pace, Texas will not reach universal high school education for another two decades and stands to lose over 2.3 million more students.

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Look Up Your County

See attrition rates and numbers over the last 9 years.

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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 peers in traditional public schools. With significantly lower graduation rates and lower accountability ratings reported by the Texas Education Agency, the state’s planned expansion of charter schools is troubling. In an additional analysis to IDRA’s annual attrition study released in October, IDRA examined the annual dropout and longitudinal graduation rates in Texas charter schools from 2009 to 2016.

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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 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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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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