A new report shows fewer students dropped out of South Carolina's public schools last year.
The report released Thursday by the state Education Department says nearly, 6,300 high school students dropped out during the 2009-10 school year. That was less than 3 percent of ninth- through 12th-graders statewide.
It's 800 fewer students than dropped out the previous year.
Education Superintendent Mick Zais says the goal is to keep students focused and engaged from the start of kindergarten through graduation.
The year-to-year dropout rate is different than the graduation rate. The two are often incorrectly referred to interchangeably and used as political footballs.
The graduation rate reflects the percentage of students who receive a regular diploma four years after entering ninth grade.
The on-time graduation rate for 2010 was 72 percent.