Graduation Rates & Dropout Rates

Maine began calculating the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) in the 2008-09 school year. This is a rate which measures how effective high schools graduate students within four years of their first grade nine enrollment. The formula used to calculate the graduation rate is:

Graduation Rate Formula

Just the Basics

  • Non-Regulatory Guidance document
  • The formula only counts students who graduate within four years of entering grade nine.
  • The formula focuses on a single "cohort" of students – the group of students who entered grade nine at the same time. A student graduating five or six years after entering high school are not counted as on-time graduates when calculating their cohort however, we also produce a five-year cohort rate and a six-year cohort rate which hopefully shows a school's efforts in keeping the students in school and eventually graduate.

Limitations of the new method

While it is a valuable tool to allow comparisons among states and schools, the new federal ACGR method does not fully capture the graduation picture for individual schools or the State. It does not reflect school and student successes in graduating in five or six years, with an alternative diploma, or with a GED, for example.

Dropout Rates

Dropout Rates are NOT the inverse of the graduation rate. While the graduation rate is a cohort rate, the dropout rate is not. The dropout rate is a year by year snapshot of the students that dropout in any given year.

The high school dropout rate is calculated as follows:

  • Count of students who dropped out in grades 9-12 for a school in a specific school year divided by total the October 1 student enrollment of grades 9 to 12 for that school.