May 31, 2012
Officials Attribute Decline to College and Career Readiness Initiatives

BATON ROUGE, La - For the third straight year in a row, the state’s annual dropout rate has fallen, according to a report released by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) today. The latest figures show the percentage of dropouts in grades 7-12 decreased from 3.5 in 2009-2010 to 3.1 in 2010-2011. The 11 percent decline equates to 1,100 more students who chose to stay in school.   Annual dropout rates also decreased among students in grades 9-12 for the third year in a row. In 2009-2010, 8,704 students dropped out of school. In 2010-2011, that figure dropped by 707 students to 7,997 students, representing an 8.1 percent reduction from the previous year.

Governor Bobby Jindal said: “As we invest in dropout prevention programs that work and eliminate ineffective programs that don’t, more and more of our students are choosing to stay in school and earn their diplomas.  These new graduation and dropout rates are further proof that our reforms are making a difference in our students’ lives and preparing them for success in the workplace.  We still have more work to do though and that’s why we passed transformative education reforms this year to give parents and students more choices and to help put a great teacher in every classroom.”

The consecutive decrease follows a historic drop in the state’s dropout rate last year.  LDOE officials attribute the decline to improved graduation rates at the state and local level to new and enriched resources and tools to support early intervention, and more accurate data collection and analysis.   In addition, the Legislature set a goal for the state to attain a Cohort Graduation Rate of 80 percent by 2014.

"The consistent drop in Louisiana’s dropout rate represents the dedication and ability of Louisiana educators, who without question are changing lives through their effective support of our students," State Superintendent of Education John White said. "We want to congratulate our districts, schools, students, and families for proving once again all students are capable of academic success. At the same time, we are partnering with our schools and districts to implement critical changes, such as the implementation of the national Common Core State Standards, so that every one of our students graduates college and career ready."

"These results confirm we’re moving in the right direction," Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastugue said. "I don’t think it could ever be fast enough when our children’s futures are at stake. But the continued decline is encouraging. "

Louisiana’s Annual Dropout Rates 


Percentage of Dropouts (Grades 7-12)

Point Change from Previous Year

Number of Dropouts/Percentage Change from Previous Year

Percentage of Dropouts (Grades 9-12)

Point Change from Previous Year

Number of Dropouts/Percentage Change from Previous Year







































































Report Highlights

Over the past two years, the number of students in grades 7-12 who dropped out has decreased by more than 5,200 students - from 14,616 in 2008-2009 to 9,376 in 2010-2011, representing a 36 percent decline. During the same time period, the number of students in grades 9-12 who dropped out saw a similar decrease. In 2008-2009, 12,163 students dropped out of school. In 2010-2011, that figure dropped by 4,166 students to 7,997 students, representing a 34 percent decline.

For grades 7-12, the Recovery School District in New Orleans saw a 34.7 percent decrease in the number of dropouts, from 900 in the 2009-2010 school year to 588 in the 2010-2011 school year.   Statewide, the Recovery School District had a 32 percent decrease in dropouts for grades 7-12 from 1,094 in 2009-2010 to 744 in 2010-2011.

Traditionally, the peak grade for dropping out of high school has been 9th grade. And that trend continued for the Class of 2011, although the percentage of freshmen dropping out fell from 5.5 percent in the 2009-2010 school year, to 4.8 percent in the 2010-2011 school year.   Proportionally, the greatest drop in dropouts was 7th grade, where the percentage of students fell over 36 percent, from 1.1 percent in 2009-2010, to .7 percent in 2010-2011.

Cohort vs. Annual Dropout Rates: What’s the Difference?

While measurements for the state’s Annual Dropout Rate and Cohort Graduation Rate are not directly related, there is an indirect impact.  When students drop out of school, the possibility no longer exists that they will advance on time to earn a high school diploma.  But if a struggling student chooses to remain in school and receives effective intervention and support, there is still a good chance the student will advance to earn a high school diploma.

The annual dropout rate refers to the number and percentage of students who leave school in a given school year. It differs from the Cohort Dropout Rate, which tracks a group of students for four years, beginning with the ninth grade and ending with their expected year of graduation. The Cohort Dropout Rate represents the percentage of students in an identified cohort (grade level) group who drop out before earning a diploma, GED or Certificate of Achievement.

Louisiana’s preliminary Cohort Dropout Rate for 2010-2011 was 14.6 percent. That means 14.6 percent of students who were freshmen in 2007-2008 dropped out at some point in their high school careers and did not graduate. This also represents a decline of nearly 30 percent from the 20.6 Cohort Dropout Rate in 2005-2006.

Louisiana’s Initiatives to Improve Graduation Rates and Reduce Dropout Rates


  • Beginning this fall, every 8th-11th grade student in Louisiana will participate in the EXPLORE/Plan/

  • ACT series.  This series of state-funded ACT tests will serve as a guide for teachers and families as to what each high school student needs in order to be prepared to achieve at high levels.
  • The state will provide funds to train approximately 350 teachers to teach Advanced Placement (AP) courses.  Through a federal grant and a new investment of state dollars through 8(g) funding, Louisiana will fund 8,500 test administrations for low-income students and for any student taking a course that is new to a school.
  • Course Choice, created through Act 2, will createnew opportunities for students in grades K-12 to take courses from an array of providers and across a full range of disciplines.  Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, using an online statewide catalogue, students, parents, and counselors will be able to select courses that meet their individual post-secondary and career interests, including Advanced Placement classes, and Career and Technical courses, and Dual Enrollment courses.
  • Louisiana is transitioning to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will provide a more clear understanding of what students are expected to learn and better prepare them to be college and career ready upon leaving high school.  The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and math are aligned to standards in the highest performing states and countries, and will prepare our students to compete in a global economy.  Students will begin transitioning to the CCSS this fall, with full implementation taking place in the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Credit Recovery/Grade Recovery programs aim to reduce the number of dropouts by preventing students from failing courses and helping them recover credit in the event that they do fail a course.
  • Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a program to assist struggling students in earning a high school diploma or in passing the General Education Development (GED) test.  It  provides students with soft skills, job training and dual enrollment opportunities. JAG has proven to be a highly effective program in Louisiana, with a graduation rate of 93 percent and a job placement rate of 96 percent.
  • Everybody Graduates! was launched in the 2010-2011 school year and incorporates best practices, such as freshman academies and using data systems to track students. The program encourages schools to use data collection systems to identify at-risk students and to provide interventions to students so that they ultimately graduate with their ninth grade cohort. This program is the continuation of the Ninth Grade Initiative which was implemented in 2007-08 and encouraged the same best practices as Everybody Graduates!

For detailed state data by grade, please click here.  For detailed dropout data by district, please click here.  For more information on Louisiana’s dropout prevention initiatives, please visit www.louisianaschools.net.

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