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High school graduation rates

Question:
What information do you have on public high school graduation rates?

Response:

This Fast Fact examines the percentage of U.S. public high school students who graduate on time, as measured by the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR). In this Fast Fact, the United States includes public schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, except for the Bureau of Indian Education schools. State education agencies calculate the ACGR by identifying the "cohort" of first-time ninth-graders in a particular school year. The cohort is then adjusted by adding any students who immigrate from another country or transfer into the cohort after 9th grade and subtracting any students who transfer out, emigrate to another country, or die. The ACGR is the percentage of students in this adjusted cohort who graduate within 4 years with a regular high school diploma. The U.S. Department of Education first collected the ACGR in 2010–11.

The U.S. average ACGR for public high school students increased over the first 8 years it was collected, from 79 percent in 2010–11 to 85 percent in 2017–18. In 2017–18, the ACGR ranged from 69 percent in the District of Columbia to 91 percent in Iowa. More than three-quarters of the states (39) reported ACGRs from 80 percent to less than 90 percent.1


Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by state: 2017–18

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: The ACGR is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting ninth grade. The Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico are not included in the U.S. average ACGR. The graduation rates displayed above have been rounded to whole numbers. Categorizations are based on unrounded percentages.


In 2017–18, the ACGRs for American Indian/Alaska Native2 (74 percent), Black (79 percent), and Hispanic (81 percent) public high school students were below the U.S. average of 85 percent. The ACGRs for White (89 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander3 (92 percent) students were above the U.S. average. Across states, the ACGRs for White students ranged from 79 percent in New Mexico to 95 percent in New Jersey, and were higher than the U.S. average ACGR of 85 percent in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The rates for Black students ranged from 67 percent in the District of Columbia to 88 percent in Alabama. Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, and Alabama were the only four states in which the rates for Black students were higher than the U.S. average ACGR. The ACGRs for Hispanic students ranged from 65 percent in the District of Columbia to 92 percent in West Virginia, and they were higher than the U.S. average ACGR in five states (Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, and West Virginia). For Asian/Pacific Islander students, ACGRs ranged from 72 percent in Vermont to 95 percent or higher in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia, Connecticut, Texas, Maryland, and New Jersey, and they were higher than the U.S. average ACGR in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The ACGRs for American Indian/Alaska Native students ranged from 50 percent in South Dakota to 90 percent in Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee, and were higher than the U.S. average ACGR in nine states (Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee).4


1 Based on unrounded graduation rates.

2 Estimated assuming a count of zero American Indian/Alaska Native students for Hawaii.

3 Reporting practices for data on Asian and Pacific Islander students vary by state. Asian/Pacific Islander data in this Fast Fact represent either the value reported by the state for the "Asian/Pacific Islander" group or an aggregation of separate values reported by the state for "Asian" and "Pacific Islander." "Asian/Pacific Islander" includes the "Filipino" group, which only California and Hawaii report separately.

4 Discussion of ACGRs for American Indian/Alaska Native students excludes data for the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont. The American Indian/Alaska Native data are suppressed for the District of Columbia and Vermont to protect student privacy and are unavailable for Hawaii.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The Condition of Education 2020 (NCES 2020-144), Public High School Graduation Rates.

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