The Dropout rates calculated in Maryland include the adjusted cohort dropout rate and the annual dropout rate. Each rate is calculated to meet different needs. Federal law requires that Maryland use an adjusted cohort dropout rate. The formulas used to calculate each rate are included in the definition links below.

Dropout Rate

The percentage of students dropping out of school in grades 9 through 12 in a single year.The number and percentage of students who leave school for any reason, except death, before graduation or completion of a Maryland approved educational program and who are not known to enroll in another school or state-approved program during the current school year. The year is defined as July through June and includes students dropping out over the summer and students dropping out of evening high school and other alternative programs.

The dropout rate is computed by dividing the number of dropouts by the total number of students in grades 9 - 12 served by the school.

Note: Students who re-enter school during the same year in which they dropped out of school are not counted as dropouts.

Reported since November 1990: System and State levels.
Reported since November 1991: School.

Four–Year Adjusted Cohort Dropout Rate

The four–year adjusted cohort dropout rate is defined as the number of students who leave school, for any reason other than death, within the four year period divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort.

The school years are defined as the first day of the school year through the summer to the first day of the following school year. Student activity that occurs during the summer, including summer withdrawals, are included in the prior year's data.

Figure 2: Four–Year Adjusted Cohort Dropout Rate Calculation

Four–Year Adjusted Cohort Dropout Rate



Adjusted Cohort


Students who terminate formal education for any reason other than death

(Number of First Time 9th Graders) +
(Students who transfer in) -
(Students who transfer out, emigrate, or die)
during the 4 year period

First Time 9th Graders are students who enter 9th grade for the first time and who are expected to graduate within four school years. Dropouts are any student who, for any reason other than death, leaves school before graduation or the completion of a Maryland–approved educational program (including a special education program) and is not known to enroll in another school or State–approved program.

Because the numerator includes multiple withdrawals and the denominator includes multiple re–entries across the course of the four–year period, the net result is that a student will count once, and only once, despite multiple withdrawals and reentries.