The status completion rate indicates the percentage of young people who have left high school and who hold a high school credential. The rate reported here is based on CPS data and represents the percentage of 18- through 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in high school and who have earned a high school diploma or equivalent credential, including a GED certificate. The status completion rate includes individuals who may have completed their education outside the United States, so the rate is not suited for measuring the performance of the education system in this country. The status completion rate is not simply the inverse of the status dropout rate (i.e., status completion does not equal 100 minus the status dropout rate). The rates are based on different age ranges, with the status dropout rate reported for 16- through 24-year-olds and the status completion rate reported for 18- through 24-year-olds. The completion rate excludes high school students from its denominator, whereas high school students are included in the denominator of the status dropout rate.
Status completion rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics exhibited no general patterns of change during the 1970s, but rates trended upward for each group between 1980 and 2006 (figure 3 and table 11).
In 2006, 57.7 percent of foreign-born Hispanics ages 18–24 who were not currently enrolled in high school had completed high school (table 9). Compared to foreign-born Hispanics, status completion rates were higher for Hispanics born in the United States (81.9 percent for "first generation" and 83.5 percent for "second generation or higher"), although in each immigrant category Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanics to have earned a high school credential.
24 Considering all 18- through 24-year-olds, irrespective of enrollment status, 82.6 percent held a high school credential in October 2006 (estimates not shown in tables).
25 The number of 18- through 24-year-olds in 2006 who had passed the GED exam is estimated by taking the sum of those who passed the exam in 2006 at ages 18–24 plus those who passed the exam in 2005 at ages 17–23 plus those who passed the exam in 2004 at ages 16–22, and so on. The results indicate that approximately 1.6 million 18- through 24-year-olds in 2006 had passed the GED exam (data not shown in tables). This represented 6.1 percent of people in 2006 in this age range who were no longer in elementary or secondary school. Subtracting this percentage from the 2006 status completion rate of 87.8 percent suggests that approximately 81.7 percent of this age group held a regular diploma. See appendix A of this report for details of this calculation.
26 When all 18- through 24-year-olds are considered, including those currently in high school, the calculation reveals that 5.7 percent held a GED in 2006, while 76.8 percent had earned a regular diploma, resulting in an overall status completion rate of 87.8 percent (data not shown in tables).