EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — December 17, 2015

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Too Many Left Behind: US Public High School Graduation Rates, 2013–14


On December 15, 2015 (two days prior to this post), the US Department of Education released new high school graduation data and said this:

"America’s students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, reaching 82 percent in 2013-14!"

In addition, the Department noted that: "What’s more, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students receiving high school diplomas continues to narrow, and traditionally underserved populations like English language learners and students with disabilities continue to make gains, the data show."

As the data illustrate below, the gaps may narrow, but they sure aren't very good or equitable. The overall four-year cohort graduation rate for the US is 82 percent. Only two subgroups have high school graduation rates above the national average: Asian/Pacific Islanders (89 percent) and White students (87 percent). Hispanic and Black students fall 11 and 14 percent below White students. Students with disabilities and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students have high school graduation rates of 63 percent.


NOTE: The four-year ACGR is the number of students who graduate in 4 years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of 9th grade (or the earliest high school grade), students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is "adjusted" by adding any students who subsequently transfer into the cohort and subtracting any students who subsequently transfer out, emigrate to another country, or die. To protect the confidentiality of individual student data, ACGRs are shown at varying levels of precision depending on the size of the cohort population for each category cell. There are some differences in how states implemented the requirements for the ACGR, leading to the potential for differences across states in how the rates are calculated. This is particularly applicable to the population of children with disabilities. Black includes African American, Hispanic includes Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander includes Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian includes Alaska Native. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified.

SOURCE: http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/ACGR_RE_and_characteristics_2013-14.asp