Federal data released today shows that the percentage of U.S. high school students graduating on time has reached a level last seen in 1974.
Citing data from the class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics found that on average 78.2 percent of students graduated within four years of beginning high school. The on-time high school grad rate for Georgia was below the national average; it was 69.9 percent.
The dropout rate for male students was 3.8 percent. For females, it was 2.9 percent.
While minority students continue to post lower grad rates, Hispanic students nationwide saw a rise in their on-time graduation rate.
“The new NCES report is good news. After three decades of stagnation, the on-time graduation rate for high school students in the 2009-10 school year [78.2 percent] is the highest it’s been since at least 1974. It’s encouraging that the on-time graduation rate is up substantially from four years earlier. And it’s promising that high school graduation rates are up for all ethnic groups in 2010 — especially for Hispanics, whose graduation rate has jumped almost 10 points since 2006,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“At the same time, our high school dropout rate is still unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy and still unacceptably high in our African-American, Latino, and Native-American communities,” he said. “As President Obama said in yesterday’s inaugural address, our journey to equality of opportunity is not yet complete. But as this report shows, we are making progress in our schools toward living up to the American creed of equal opportunity for all.”
• Across the United States, a total of 3,128,022 public school students received a high school diploma in 2009–10, resulting in a calculated Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) of 78.2 percent. This rate ranged from 57.8 percent in Nevada and 59.9 percent in the District of Columbia to 91.1 in Wisconsin and 91.4 percent in Vermont. The median state AFGR was 78.6 percent.
• Across the United States, the AFGR was highest for Asian/Pacific Islander students (93.5 percent) . The rates for other groups were 83.0 percent for White students, 71.4 percent for Hispanic students, 69.1 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students, 3and 66.1 percent for Black students.3
• A comparison of data from 2009–10 to data from the prior school year, 2008–09, shows a percentage point or greater increase in the AFGR for 38 states The AFGR decreased by a percentage point or more for only the District of Columbia during that same time period.
• Across the United States, a total of 514,238 public school students dropped out of grades 9–12, resulting in a calculated overall event dropout rate of 3.4 percent in 2009–10. New Hampshire and Idaho had the lowest event dropout rates at 1.2 and 1.4 percent, respectively, while Mississippi and Arizona had the highest at 7.4 and 7.8 percent, respectively. The median state dropout rate was 3.4 percent.
• Across the United States, the calculated dropout rates increased as grade-level increased. This pattern was also true for 24 states. The lowest dropout rate was for grade 9 (2.6 percent) while the highest grade-level dropout rate was for grade 12 (5.1 percent).
• Across the United States, the calculated dropout rate was the lowest for Asian/Pacific Islander students at 1.9 percent and White students at 2.3 percent. The dropout rates for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students were 6.7, 5.5, and 5.0 percent respectively.
• Comparisons between high school dropout rates in the 2008–09 and 2009–10 school years showed an increase of a percentage point or more in Delaware, Illinois and Louisiana. A decrease by the same margin or greater was also found in three states; Mississippi, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
• Across the United States the dropout rate was higher for males than for females at 3.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. The dropout rate was higher among males in every state. The male-female gap ranged from lows of 0.2 percentage points in Idaho to highs of 1.7 in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog