Terms You Should Know About High School Dropouts

Standardized test sheet and pencil

Cohort Rate

A rate that measures the proportion of a single group of students who drop out over a period of time.

Vocational – Technical School

A school that enrolls secondary students and provides a total educational program and services for both specialized vocational- technical education and academic education.

Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma

A diploma issued by the Department of Education to Pennsylvania residents who successfully passed the GED test (minimum total standard score of 225) or who have completed one year (30 semester hours) of college work.

Alternative High School

A school which enrolls high risk students or students who previously dropped out.


A student who, for any reason other than death, leaves school before graduation without transferring to another school/institution.

Event rate

An annual rate that measures the proportion of students enrolled who drop out during a single school year.

General Educational Development (GED) Certification

A high school equivalency certification obtained through achievement of satisfactory scores on comprehensive tests that measure the educational development of students who have not completed their formal high school education.