New York City Department of Education


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NYS Comptroller


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New York City Department of Education
Accuracy of Reported Discharge Data (Follow-Up)

Issued: September 09, 2014
Link to full audit report 2014-F-4

To determine the extent of implementation of the three recommendations included in our initial audit report, Accuracy of Reported Discharge Data (Report 2009-N-9).

In our initial audit report, which was issued March 29, 2011, our objective was to determine whether the New York City Department of Education (DoE) was accurately reporting the number of students discharged from City public high schools, in accordance with guidelines from the New York State Education Department. We found that DoE classified some students as discharged without sufficient documentation under SED guidelines to support a discharge classification. Specifically, when we examined DoE’s discharge classifications for its 2004-08 general education cohort (i.e., the students who entered ninth grade in 2004 and were expected to graduate four years later in 2008), we found that 74 of the 500 (14.8 percent) randomly selected students who were classified as discharged were not supported with required documentation, and all 74, therefore, should have been classified as dropouts. By classifying them as discharged, DoE’s reported graduation rate was higher than the actual rate and the reported dropout rate was lower than actual. The objective of our follow-up was to assess the extent of implementation, as of August 5, 2014, of the three recommendations included in our initial report.

Key Findings

  • DoE officials have made significant progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report and have implemented the report’s three recommendations. However, DoE needs to continue its efforts to improve the accuracy of its discharge classifications, and hence its dropout and graduation rates.

Key Recommendations

  • None

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

New York City Department of Education: Funding and Monitoring of the High School Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention Program (2002-N-4)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Frank Patone
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236