New York City Department of Education

Accuracy of Reported Discharge Data

The New York City Department of Education distinguishes between students who dropout and those who are discharged. Discharged students include those who transfer to another school or educational program, leave the country or die, and are not counted when a schoolís graduation or dropout rate is calculated. We found that the Department of Education classified some students as discharged without sufficient required documentation. For example, we examined records for 500 randomly selected students who were classified as discharged and found that 74 (14.8 percent) should have been classified as dropouts. As a result of the misclassification, the reported graduation rate was higher than it actually was and the dropout rate was lower. However, the recalculated graduation rate was within five percentage points of the reported rate, so we considered the reported rate to be generally accurate. We made several recommendations for improving the accuracy of the Department of Educationís discharge data.

For a complete copy of Report 2009-N-9 click here.