Max Rady College of Medicine

Concept: Withdrawn From School

 Printer friendly

Concept Description

Last Updated: 2007-05-30


    A student who has withdrawn from high school is defined as a high school-aged person who does not have a high school diploma and is not enrolled in or attending high school.


    Students who have withdrawn from school, or "dropped-out" of school, were identified at the time that their cohort would have been expected to have reached Grade 12. In Brownell et al. (2006) , two cohorts were studied:

    1. A 1984 birth cohort (see Birth / Grade Cohorts concept for more information).
    2. A grade cohort (see Birth / Grade Cohorts concept for more information) of students in grade 9 (S1) during the 1997 academic year (1997/1998 school year), who were then followed for five years to determine if they had graduated or withdrawn from school.

    MCHP researchers checked enrollment records to see if there were any students who were not in Grade 12 at the expected time. Then, researchers verified whether these students had been enrolled in grade 12 either the previous year or the following year. MCHP researchers also searched enrollment records of the lower grades (9-11) to see if these students were also not enrolled in any high school grade. If they found a student who was not enrolled in school for two consecutive years, and there was no indication that the student had completed high school, the student would be flagged as "dropped-out", or categorized as school-withdrawn.


    Findings from Manitoba data indicate that students living in low socioeconomic status (SES) areas are more likely to withdraw from school than are those from high SES areas. In the grade cohort study, by the end of the five years, one in four low SES area students in Winnipeg had withdrawn before completing high school; whereas, less than 5% of high SES area students in Winnipeg had withdrawn.

    When examining educational outcomes in Manitoba, MCHP researchers reported performance of students in the 1984 birth cohort who took the Grade 12 Language Arts standards tests in the 2001 academic year (2001/2002 school year). Researchers also identified withdrawn students and students who were not in Grade 12 by the "age-appropriate" time. (The age-appropriate time for students born in 1984 to be in Grade 12 would be during the 2001 academic year (2001/2002 school year)).

    MCHP researchers had initially found that 92% of Winnipeg students who lived in high SES areas, and 75% of students who lived in low SES areas, passed the Grade 12 Language Arts standards tests. However, those findings only included students who actually wrote the tests. The findings did not consider school withdrawal, or students who did not write the test at the age-appropriate time. When school withdrawal and those not writing the test at the age-appropriate time were considered, researchers found that 77% of students who lived in high SES areas, and only 27% of students who lived in low SES areas actually wrote and passed the test. Almost 20% of the low SES area students had withdrawn from school.

Related concepts 

Related terms 


  • Brownell M, Roos N, Fransoo R, Roos LL, Guevremont A, MacWilliam L, Yallop L, Levin B. Is the class half empty? A population-based perspective on socioeconomic status and educational outcomes. IRPP Choices 2006;12(5):1-30. [Abstract] [Report] (View)
  • Roos NP, Brownell M, Guevremont A, Fransoo R, Levin B, MacWilliam L, Roos LL. The complete story: A population-based perspective on school performance and educational testing. Can J Educ 2006;29(3):684-705. [Abstract] [Report] (View)


  • education
  • Educational Measurement

Request information in an accessible format

If you require access to our resources in a different format, please contact us:

We strive to provide accommodations upon request in a reasonable timeframe.

Contact us

Manitoba Centre for Health Policy
Community Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine,
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences,
Room 408-727 McDermot Ave.
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P5 Canada