Dropout rates in the Oklahoma City school district more than doubled last year, and tougher graduation requirements may be part of the reason.
About 762 students in seventh through 12th grades dropped out of school last year compared with 358 the previous year, according to a report that will be presented to board members Tuesday night.
“I think it has a lot to do with students who haven't passed their end-of-school exams,” said George Kimball, the district's chief information officer.
“If they have tried multiple times, there is some discouragement and they may say ‘why am I continuing to try?'”
Students previously were allowed to graduate even if they didn't pass the end-of-instruction exams.
Now, they are required to pass four of seven tests before they are awarded a diploma.
About 46,000 students attend Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The district recorded 705 dropouts in the 2006-07 school year but had been seeing a decline in these numbers before last year's spike.
A returning student is considered a “no show” if he or she misses the first day of a new school year and a dropout if not back by the end of the first quarter, Kimball said
In some cases, dropouts actually have returned to school and graduated, he said.
About the numbers
Hispanic and black students combined for 72 percent of the district's dropouts in 2012-13 (547 students).
However, it's worth noting that the overall district makeup is similar to that dropout number.
School district officials report that the student body is made up of 42 percent Hispanic and 32 percent black, for a total of 74 percent.
Emerson, an alternative school that offers child care and parenting classes for students, produced the highest number of dropouts among high schools in the district (164), followed by U.S. Grant (136) and Capitol Hill (98).
Taft (42) had the highest number of middle school dropouts in the district, followed by Jefferson (21) and Jackson (19).
Charters schools, by comparison, had a much lower number of dropouts with 98 dropouts among 10 schools listed by the district.
One of those charters — SeeWorth Academy — had 74 of the dropouts.
The board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the district's administration building auditorium, 900 N Klein Ave.