South Carolina dropout rate declines

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COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s dropout rate has declined for the third consecutive year, with 365 fewer high school students dropping out compared to the previous school year.

The state Education Department reported Friday the dropout rate for 2010-11 was 2.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous year and 1.1 percentage points from 2007-08.

Statewide, 5,900 teens left high school in 2010-11, compared with 8,032 teens in 2007-08.

The year-to-year dropout rate is different than the graduation rate. It reflects how many teens officially withdrew during the school year or became too old to return. Students can legally drop out at age 17. They cannot stay in school past age 21.

The graduation rate measures students earning a regular diploma in four years. The graduation rate for 2011 was 73.6 percent.

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