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Public High School Graduation Rates
(Last Updated: May 2014)

In school year 201112, some 3.1 million public high school students, or 81 percent, graduated on time with a regular diploma. Among all public high school students, Asians/Pacific Islanders had the highest graduation rate (93 percent), followed by Whites (85 percent), Hispanics (76 percent), and American Indians/Alaska Natives and Blacks (68 percent each).


Figure 1. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students: School years 199091 through 201112

Figure 1. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students: School years 199091 through 201112

NOTE: The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate is the number of graduates divided by the estimated freshman enrollment count 4 years earlier. This count is the sum of the number of 8th-graders 5 years earlier, the number of 9th-graders 4 years earlier, and the number of 10th-graders 3 years earlier, divided by 3. Ungraded students are allocated to individual grades proportional to each state's enrollment in those grades. Graduates include only those who earned regular diplomas or diplomas for advanced academic achievement (e.g., honors diploma) as defined by the state or jurisdiction. The 200506 national estimate includes imputed data for the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The 200708 and 200809 estimates for Maine include graduates from semiprivate schools. The 200809 national estimate includes imputed data for California and Nevada. The 200910 estimate includes fall 2006 9th-graders from publicly funded private schools in the data for Maine. The 200910 national estimate includes imputed data for Connecticut. The 201112 national estimate includes imputed data for Texas.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 198687 through 200708; "State Dropout and Completion Data File," 200506 through 200910; The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate for Public High Schools From the CCD: School Years 200203 and 200304; Public School Graduates and Dropouts From the CCD, 200708 and 200809; and "NCES Common Core of Data State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File," School Year 201011, Provisional 1a and School Year 201112, Preliminary Version 1a. See Digest of Education Statistics 2012, table 124; and CCD table at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/AFGR0812.asp.


This indicator examines the percentage of public high school students who graduate on time with a regular diploma. The indicator uses the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), which is the number of high school diplomas expressed as a percentage of the estimated freshman class 4 years earlier. In school year 201112, the AFGR was 81 percent, and some 3.1 million public high school students graduated on time with a regular diploma. The overall AFGR was higher for the graduating class of 201112 than it was for the class of 199091 (74 percent). However, from 199091 to 199596 the graduation rate decreased from 74 to 71 percent. During the period from 199899 to 200405, the rate steadily increased from 71 to 75 percent. After dropping to 73 percent in 200506, the graduation rate increased nearly 8 percentage points to 81 percent in 201112.


Figure 2. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students, by race/ethnicity: School year 201112

Figure 2. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students, by race/ethnicity: School year 201112

NOTE: The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate is the number of graduates divided by the estimated freshman enrollment count 4 years earlier. This enrollment count is the sum of the number of 8th-graders 5 years earlier, the number of 9th-graders 4 years earlier, and the number of 10th-graders 3 years earlier, divided by 3. Ungraded students are allocated to individual grades proportional to each state's enrollment in those grades. Graduates include only those who earned regular diplomas or diplomas for advanced academic achievement (e.g., honors diploma) as defined by the state or jurisdiction. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Total includes students for whom race/ethnicity was not reported or whose race/ethnicity is not represented in the five racial/ethnic categories presented in this figure.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "NCES Common Core of Data State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File," School Year 201112, Preliminary Version 1a. See CCD table at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/AFGR0812.asp.


The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate varied by race/ethnicity in 201112. Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest graduation rate (93 percent), followed by White (85 percent), Hispanic (76 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native and Black students (68 percent each).


Figure 3. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students, by state or jurisdiction: School year 200910

Figure 3. Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for public high school students, by state or jurisdiction: School year 200910

NOTE: The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate is the number of graduates divided by the estimated freshman enrollment count 4 years earlier. This enrollment count is the sum of the number of 8th-graders 5 years earlier, the number of 9th-graders 4 years earlier, and the number of 10th-graders 3 years earlier, divided by 3. Ungraded students are allocated to individual grades proportional to each state's enrollment in those grades. Graduates include only those who earned regular diplomas or diplomas for advanced academic achievement (e.g., honors diploma) as defined by the state or jurisdiction. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Total includes students for whom race/ethnicity was not reported or whose race/ethnicity is not represented in the five racial/ethnic categories presented in this figure.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Dropout and Completion Data File," 200910. See Digest of Education Statistics 2012, table 124.


The AFGR varied by state in school year 200910. Vermont and Wisconsin had the highest graduation rates, each at 91 percent. Twenty other states had graduation rates of 80 percent or more (ordered from high to low): North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Montana, South Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Nevada had the lowest rate, at 58 percent. Five other states and the District of Columbia had graduation rates below 70 percent (ordered from high to low): Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.

In terms of changes by state, there was an increase in the AFGR in 43 states from school year 200506 to 200910. In 3 states (Tennessee, Louisiana, and Vermont) the rate increased by between 9 and 10 percentage points; in 14 others (Alaska, California, New York, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, Maine, Texas, North Dakota, Alabama, New Hampshire, and North Carolina), the rate increased by more than 5 percentage points but less than 9 percentage points. The graduation rate decreased from 200506 to 200910 in the District of Columbia and 7 states (Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Connecticut), with decreases of more than 5 percentage points occurring in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut.


Glossary terms: High school diploma, Public school or institution
Data Source: Common Core of Data (CCD)


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education