Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates an on-time high school graduation rate of 81.4 percent for the class of 2013, breaking previous records.
The data is based on the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR), which is the percentage of first-time high school students who earn regular diplomas within four years.
Graduation rates for low-income students, minorities, and English-language learners have each increased by at least 3 percentage points over two years. While these rates are still below the overall average graduation rate, the graduation rates of these students are improving faster than the overall graduation rate.
Most states have seen an improved ACGR. For example, California and Texas, two states with Career & College Clubs, have seen an increase of 4 and 2 percentage points respectively since the 2010-11 school year. Nevada has seen the greatest improvement – 9 percentage points since the 2010-11 school year.
Prior to 2010, states individually tracked graduation rates using different, sometimes questionable, metrics. Hopefully, a standard metric for graduation rates furthers accountability, while allowing states to learn from each other’s successful practices.
We hope more states focus on curriculum and programs, including Career & College Clubs, that effectively encourage persistence and aspirations for high school and beyond. In particular, we believe the ACGR will be further improved with a stronger emphasis in middle school on college prep, career awareness, and leadership skills.